In profile: Raneem Kalsoum, Research and Data Coordinator

Image of Raneem Kalsoum

As part of our Staff Profile series, we spoke to Raneem Kalsoum who has recently completed Imperial’s Impact Development Programme. Here, she tells us more about her career and experiences of the programme.

Introduce yourself – who are you and what do you do?

Hello, I’m Raneem and I am a Research and Data Coordinator working in Dr Fiona Watt’s group. I am based at the Department of Immunology and Inflammation.

Tell us about your career so far – when did you join the college, and where were you working/studying before this?

From a young age, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in science. Following my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, I completed my Masters in Drug Discovery and Development at Imperial College London in 2019. This allowed me to explore the world of research and trials, which I quickly grew to become interested in. I joined the college as staff in June 2022. Before joining the college, I worked as a Clinical Trial Haematology Data Manager at University College London Hospital.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

I would say the most challenging part of my role is juggling multiple lines of interdisciplinary work and projects with different groups of people simultaneously. Although it could be challenging at times, having each working day different to the other due to my roles versatile nature is really exciting. For example, on one day I would be involved in coordinating an international workshop, and on the other, I am in communication with the Research Governance and Integrity Team for input on a study we have in set-up.

And the most rewarding?

A rewarding aspect of my role is seeking patient and public involvement in our research; I enjoy interacting with different key stakeholders to better our understanding of the disease area. I have found it very eye-opening and actually heartwarming to see how different groups involved in osteoarthritis research are keen to partake in collaborative work, and the importance for this to pave the future for our research.

You recently took part in the IMPACT programme, what did you learn and how did you find it?

My experience with taking part in IMPACT was a very positive and inspiring one. Each session addressed a different skillset or area for development and involved coaching from experts in the field. These sessions provided a safe space for me to share my experiences, strengthened my leadership abilities through taking part in group projects and increased my confidence in aspiring for career progression and personal development. One of my favourite sessions was about practising assertiveness, and the importance of doing so. Who would have thought there’s a step by step guide to do this?!

What advice would you give someone who is considering applying for the programme?

My advice simply would be to go for it! Sometimes when we think too much about something, we could fall into the trap of getting put off by barriers we, or others, have created to take our next steps. Once you read the programme description and understand how much of a positive impact it could create on your work life, but also your personal life, that in itself should inspire an application. Another piece of advice would be to consciously set your intentions before joining the programme; ask yourself- why do I want to take part and what do I hope to gain from it?

What are your biggest hobbies/passions when you’re not busy at work?

When I am not working, my main passion is photography. I also really enjoy cycling (the longest distance I have done so far is Cambridge to London as part of a charity challenge!) and travelling.

And finally – if you were stranded on a desert island but allowed one luxury item, what would it be?

Definitely a sleeping bag!