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Meet the team: Helen Breheny

This month, we meet Helen Breheny, Contracts Support Officer, and talk stocks and shares, cytogenetics and good food.

What led you to work at the University?

My working life began in accounts long before there were computers. I used NCR Accounting machines spouting paper tape.

I took an HR course at college which led me to working for a stockbroking company as Senior Compliance Assistant where I monitored dealing in embargoed stocks.

In 2005 I moved to the NHS as PA to the Director of Cytogenetics and Office Manager to 18 Clinical Scientists at the Western General Hospital. I learned a lot about chromosomes and related conditions and abnormalities.

Looking for a new experience, I applied to the Research Contracts, Governance and Integrity Team where my NHS background was a bonus as the team deal with clinical trial contracts sent all over the UK.

What does your team do?

My team handle all sorts of research-based contracts such as material transfer agreements, confidentiality agreements, collaboration agreements, data transfer, funding and many others and support academics and students with other matters around their research.  We advise on research contracts and get contracts drawn up and signed, allowing researchers to do what they do best.

I help triage the work that comes in to our team inbox and facilitate the signing of agreements and all of the admin that goes with it.  I can give information on the progress of an agreement while it is in process and track the signature process to end.

How long have you worked at the University?

6 of the fastest years of my life.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I like the variety of work and the people in my team who make working here worthwhile. The wider Research Support Office has developed over the last year and there are more opportunities to develop.

Favourite type of cake:

Any that colleagues in RSO bake and kindly bring in to the office on Fridays!

What do you like doing when not being Contracts Support Officer?

Health wise: I like swimming and walking and my 22-month old granddaughter keeps me fit too.  I like to travel especially to new places and would like to do much more of that.

Not so health wise: I love going out for long lunches or dinner with wine chatting with friends or family.

What do you like to do in Edinburgh?

Trying lots of new restaurants of course! Plus the odd live music place or theatre.


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