Dr Jim Caryl

Dr Jim Caryl

Science writer, research consultant and photographer
My interests lie in providing a specialist communications role—or knowledge brokerage—across biomedical science and healthcare areas. As a knowledge broker I act as an intermediary to find, assimilate and translate specialist research content to meet the needs of my clients. My research and communications background has allowed me to develop excellent relationships with both the creators and users of research, and to understand the pressures of motivations of each.

Recent work

Current freelance work.

Research consultancy

I undertake bespoke buy-side research and analysis of biotech / pharma technologies and emerging trends in the healthcare sector. My aim is to help challenge assumptions and inform discussion on longterm healthcare investments. I use a combination of deep dives into the underpinning scientific literature, critical analysis of investor reports and presentations, and my own expertise and extensive networks in the research and healthcare community.

Recent investigations

The future of healthcare wearables
Will we cure diabetes?
Rare disease therapies
Cancer molecular diagnostics
Cancer metabolism
Gene therapy
Stem cell therapy
Adoptive T-cell therapies / CAR-T
Detailed analysis of discovery pipelines within individual companies

Knowledge exchange & impact assessment

I help individual research centres and institutional clients with their knowledge exchange and impact identification, development and planning—particularly in the areas of life sciences, medicine and veterinary science. With substantial past experience identifying, investigating and drafting impact case studies for the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF2014 and REF2021), I can provide specialist support for horizon scanning across research portfolios, working one-on-one with research staff on personal impact planning, and more strategic planning and prospective case study outlines ahead of future research impact exercises.

Recent projects

Bid writing: I worked with two University of Glasgow professors and 13 partners (11 based across Africa) to research, develop and draft a £19.5m Global Challenges Research Fund UKRI Hub proposal.

Impact horizon scanning & case study development: identifying research with potential impact, interviewing staff members, conducting detailed investigative reporting and evidencing of impacts arising from research beyond academia, and drafting impact case studies to standardised formats for assessment. Clients: University of Glasgow (College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences; College of Science & Engineering; UofG Research Strategy & Innovation Office). To date I have contributed to 75 submitted REF impact case study drafts, and been the lead writer for 34 of these.

Individual staff impact planners: I have worked with core staff members to identify key stakeholder relationships, identify potential impacts and advise on how to integrate a pathway to impact into research strategy. Clients: University of Glasgow (Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine; MRC-UofG Centre for Virus Research).

Workshops on developing a digital profile: I have helped individual researchers, research groups and research centres to consider how they promote themselves strategically in the digital/online space. Clients: University of Glasgow (College of Social Sciences; MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit; Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine; Early Career Researchers Forum); University of Stirling (Researcher Development Programme).

I am also an Affiliate Researcher at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow.

degrees in science
years in scientific research
years in research support
years in research consultancy



Freelance (April 2016–present): Successfully transitioned to full-time freelance work: healthcare consultancy; research impact specialist; photography

Research Communications Manager (March 2015–April 2016), Research Strategy & Innovation Office, University of Glasgow.

Communications Specialist (July 2014–March 2015): I worked within the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine and MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research to enhance the visibility of their research both internally and externally by developing use of digital platforms and identifying key audiences.

REF Science Writer (Jan 2013–July 2014): I was involved with developing, writing and evidencing REF impact case studies (UoAs 1-6) in the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow, and subsequently to publicise and embed strategies to improve the development of impact from research.

Postdoctoral Research Associate (2004–2012), Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds. I co-wrote my first research position, winning £195,000 from the BBSRC to continue my work on the biochemistry and molecular genetics of antibiotic drug resistance in bacteria. I also worked with a team of electronic engineers to develop new hybrid-bioelectronic surfaces for use as next generation biosensors. I taught undergraduate labs (yrs 1–3 biochemistry and molecular biology) for 5 years, led tutorials and supervised over 15 Honours and MSc students.


Photography workshops (professional development): Rosie Hardy (one-day training workshops in 2012 and 2013), The Kitcheners (weekend of training, 2015), Camp Archipelago (one week residential training, 2017).

In addition to my postdoctoral role, between 2007–2012 I was as a senior residential warden responsible for the pastoral care of 600+ students in halls of residence. I managed a team of five postgraduate sub-wardens and worked closely with senior University management to handle student crises.

I trained as a Mountain Leader (Summer ML) during 2005.

In December 2012 I worked with Nobel Media AB as part of the small blog team covering the Nobel Week Dialogue: ‘The Genetic Revolution and its Impact on Society’, which took place in Stockholm the day before the Nobel Prizes.


During my time in research I was also a Royal Statistical Society media fellow, delivering workshops on understanding science and ‘number hygiene’ to media centres, national journalism training colleges and universities. [You can read more about this programme in this Guardian article by the former co-ordinator—or access the RSS ‘StatsLife’ materials directly].

I have given many talks on scientific topics to lay audiences through the British Science Association and Humanist Society. I was also a winner of the Wellcome Trust-funded “I’m a Scientist, get me out of here!” schools outreach competition (Summer, 2011).