Madeleine ThorntonMT

Location: Edinburgh

Qualifications: MA Economics

I joined SQW in 2016 after studying at the University of Edinburgh. The company appealed to me because it offered the opportunity to explore new policy areas and research methods, whilst still providing the academic challenge I enjoyed as a student. In my first two years as a Research Consultant, I worked on a range of projects for local, national and international clients across our four expertise areas. This exposure helped me to develop my own research interests and now, as a Consultant, I'm mostly involved with our innovation policy work.

This month, I conducted site visits to companies that had worked with the Satellite Applications Catapult - a technology and innovation centre - and produced case studies about their engagement with the Catapult. This kind of fieldwork is one of the most interesting parts of the job: you meet people who specialise in cutting-edge research and get the chance to broaden your understanding of how different sectors work. In the past few weeks, I have met geologists using satellite technology to target mineral explorations in Cornwall, charities who mentor young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in London and agri-tech researchers in the Scottish Highlands.

As a Consultant, my project work extends beyond primary research and analysis. I contributed to a methodology paper for measuring economic benefits from a funding programme for the Aerospace sector. This involved distilling information from academic papers and hypothesising ways of capturing them in our evaluation. Alongside this project work, I am managing an evaluation of an ERDF-funded grants programme for SMEs and research into the debt-funding landscape in Scotland. The recent transition to project management has been extremely rewarding and continues to provide new challenges.

Outside of the day-to-day delivery, I manage our Twitter account, deliver training for our e-survey tool and provide mentoring to the recent Research Consultant intake. At SQW you are encouraged to participate in all areas of the business: there is scope to influence everything from our marketing and recruitment to the type of work we bid for and the methodologies we use. This variety is what keeps the job exciting and makes SQW a great place to work for anyone with a curious mind.