Kadriann Deacon

Location: Edinburgh

Qualifications: MA Economics, MSc Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation

I joined SQW as a Research Consultant in September 2018 after completing an MSc in Management of Information Systems and Digital Innovation at LSE. Prior to this, I had worked for two years at another research consultancy, and also gained experience in business growth and finance at the investment agencies of Estonia and the state of Victoria, Australia. Through these experiences, I had developed a strong interest in innovation, finance and technology.

I therefore joined SQW primarily because of its expertise and track record in the innovation policy domain. This interest has been nurtured at SQW, and I have been able to build up my experience to specialise in that area. Equally, the company's breadth of expertise allows graduates to gain experience across a range of policy areas such as education and health. There is also some overlap between these, for instance I have worked on projects mapping the strengths and challenges for innovation skills in the UK, and assessing the funding landscape for MedTech. It is the variety of projects – even within the same policy domain – that makes the work really stimulating.

From the outset, I have been able to work on high-profile projects with real impact, gradually taking on more responsibility as I was promoted to Consultant and then to Managing Consultant. For example, one of my first project experiences at SQW was to provide research support on the interim evaluation of the Innovation Loans pilot programme, a government funded repayable finance product for late-stage R&D projects. Fast forward two years, I was managing the large-scale follow-on interim evaluation of the same programme. The structure of SQW enables you to develop at a pace that feels challenging yet manageable (whilst acknowledging that this is different for everyone).

Perhaps the best part of SQW, however, are its people who are a pleasure to work alongside. Across the three offices, the team spans a wide range of knowledge, skills and interests. I have always, even as a recent graduate, felt that my input and opinions were valued in both project work and at management level. The size of the company makes it possible to develop a good rapport with all colleagues, and cross-office working is the norm (enabled by the hybrid working model). It is the combination of impactful work and a collective desire to have fun along the way that makes SQW a really rewarding place to work.