Meet the Young Scientists of Target Malaria: Lucy Olliff 

Posted 6th June 2024 by Lucy Olliff

What do you do with Target Malaria, and what do you enjoy about your work? 

I am the Data and Information Manager for Target Malaria UK, based at Imperial College London. What that translates to is a very varied and diverse role. I sit within the project’s Quality Assurance (QA) Function and have been involved in several aspects of setting up the new Quality Management System (QMS). I manage the Project’s various EarthCape databases – the main two being Insectary and Stakeholder Engagement . I also provide training across the project on the database and other data management related topics. Then there are all the other weird and wonderful tasks that crop up along the way, such as helping to design data capture methods or dashboards, doing analysis for reports, and strategising with my QA colleagues on the big pieces that are coming up. I feel valued and engaged in the QA team, which makes turning up to work much more enjoyable. Plus, I’m a big fan of the fact that my day is varied, jumping from project to project, and I love that I get to work with all the teams in Target Malaria. This project is filled with vibrant, dedicated and skilled people who I feel very privileged to work alongside. 

What motivated you to enter this line of work? 

I’ve always wanted to have a career with purpose and positive social change at the core, so working on Target Malaria’s mission aligns perfectly with my morals and values. As for my role, if you’d told a younger me that I’d be working as a Data Manager, I’d probably have laughed! Over the years though, after spending time in the National Health Service (NHS) managing one of their databases, and undertaking a graduate scheme in the charity sector as a Data and Analysis Officer for Hospice UK, it’s become clear that I like details and helping people understand and use their data better is very motivating for me. 

Who are you inspired by? 

I’m inspired by all sorts of people – everyone can teach you something. I’m inspired by my line manager, Eoin Mac-Hale’s leadership style and the culture we’ve co-created in our team; I’m inspired by the constant display of emotional intelligence from our administrative team members, Valentina Cimaroli and Julie Etheridge; I’m inspired by the detail-oriented, incredibly skilled scientific mind of our Field and Insectary lead, Andrew McKemey; and I’m inspired by the commitment shown across the project – Target Malaria’s team members don’t take their roles lightly, they work incredibly hard and many have done so for years. They really believe in the work we are doing and that is inspiring. 

Do you have any advice to other Young Scientists? 

It’s ok to try things and decide they’re not for you. There can be a very negative viewpoint of “failure” and a pressure to have all the answers now. I would argue that joy is found in the process of discovery. There are going to be things that work and things that don’t. Be open to that, be open to feedback and constructive criticism. Be open to discussion and exploration with the people around you – you never know what you might learn or who you might meet. To me, that’s exciting.