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Dr Dale Elgar

"My Industry Fellowship was instrumental in where I am today."

Awarded: 2009 – 2012, Employer: Scientifica, Host: University College London

In 2007, Dale moved to the UK from South Africa and started working for Scientifica in the area of electrophysiology. A desire to be directly involved in scientific research encouraged Dale to apply for an Industry Fellowship with Dr Jesper Sjöström, a Scientifica customer and researcher from University College London, which he was subsequently awarded in 2009.  

By building a work station that allowed for multiple patching of cells and two-photon microscopy, they set out to study how the brain works and to observe signal transmission between cells. Dale was able to test a number of pieces of hardware that Scientifica was refining at the time and use them in the lab. "The amount of insight I gained in that time brought about a huge amount of benefit to the company after the fellowship."

After his Industry Fellowship, Dale moved into a more engineering based role. "My new role taught me many new aspects of business but I felt myself becoming distant from the researchers and their needs. I felt that I could help neuroscientists more by doing things a little differently and decided to pursue this further."

Using the insight he’d gained from his Industry Fellowship, Dale left Scientifica in April 2017 and together with his former colleague Dr Bruno Pichler, established Independent NeuroScience Services (INSS), based in East Sussex. Their company is building bespoke and customisable multi-photon systems for neuroscientists. 

Dale is eager to encourage companies to think about the Industry Fellowship. "Though the short-term gain of an Industry Fellowship may not be obvious, the long-term gain for companies and individuals can be life changing – it has been for me."

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