Radka Jersakova

Learning new skills has been a key part of Radka Jersakova’s career so far. In our latest Spotlight she tells us what she enjoys about her role as a Senior Research Data Scientist

Tell us about your career journey before joining the Turing?

Before joining the Turing, I completed an MA in Psychology and Philosophy followed by a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. Although I enjoyed studying these subjects, I always dipped into other courses whenever possible. During my PhD I had a great degree of flexibility and as a result spent a substantial amount of time learning additional skills (e.g. programming and machine learning). I was also awarded several grants that gave me the opportunity to work with researchers outside my own department, and university, and allowed me to travel to France and the US. By the end, I knew I’d like a job that allowed me to continue exploring new perspectives and learning a diverse skill set while tackling a variety of interesting problems. When I found the job description for my current role it immediately ticked all those boxes.

Tell us about your role?

I‘m a Senior Research Data Scientist primarily working on applied data science projects that focus on tackling real world problems. My role allows me to engage in research across a wide range of topics. The environment and culture at the Turing is very collaborative and supportive and I’m lucky to work with fantastic people who I can learn from. There is always someone you can ask for advice, which is key as in my job you are always picking up something new. I’ve been at the Turing for over three years and still can’t imagine being bored in this role.

What are you currently working on?

This year I’ve mostly worked on COVID-19 related projects supporting the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) Test and Trace programme. In the summer I was part of a team working on improving distance estimation in the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app. Currently I am involved with the recently set up Machine Learning and Statistical Modelling Laboratory collaborating with the Joint Biosecurity Centre. The initial focus of this team is on fine-scale nowcasting of COVID-19 prevalence in the UK.

What do you enjoy most about living in London?

(COVID-19 aside) London is one of the most exciting places I have ever lived. The city is full of creativity and there’s always a wide variety of events (such as concerts, theatre, exhibitions) right at your fingertips. It’s impossible to get bored! It also has plenty of green spaces to balance all that activity. And if you’re ever bored of the city, it’s easy to get on a train or a plane to anywhere in the UK or the world. There is a real sense that anything is possible when living here.