International Women’s Day viewpoints – an interview with Jenny McMillan, Research Associate

Jenny McMillan, Research Associate

SRUC is celebrating International Women's Day 2024 today by bringing you the voices of women from across SRUC, SAC Consulting and SRUCSA. Here's what Jenny McMillan, Research Associate had to say:


Can you tell us briefly about your role in SRUC? 

I’m a Research Associate at SRUC based in Edinburgh. Much of the research I’ve carried out over the last few years has looked at farm and rural business resilience and the challenges faced by rural and island communities across Scotland. A lot of my time is spent analysing data from large scale surveys, open data and using statistical packages, and more recently GIS applications, to present the results of my analysis. I’ve also been involved, over the past few years, in assisting with teaching modules to students at SRUC’s Edinburgh Campus.  


What drew you to agricultural economics and what do you enjoy most about your work? 

I’m from a farming background in Dumfries and Galloway. My interest in agriculture and rural areas and my studies in economics makes agricultural economics a good fit for me.  I really enjoy making sense of data and working on projects that produce research for Scottish Government, and other organisations, to inform policy decisions which can ultimately help to make a difference to the lives of people living and working in rural Scotland.  


As an early career researcher, what would you like to achieve in the next 5-10 years?  

I’d like to continue developing my data analysis skills, which SRUC is great at providing lots of training opportunities for, so that I can contribute to novel research in my field.  Collaborating with colleagues and my wider network over the next 5-10 years is also going to be important to me, so that I can develop my experience, knowledge and contacts and use this to feed into research outputs that are going to have a meaningful impact.  


Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career in this area? 

A female colleague at another organisation in a leadership role was extremely supportive in encouraging my application for a part-time MSc in economics whilst I was working there.  I would say, look for female role models who will support your career ambitions, and who can also provide some really valuable advice and guidance when you are starting out. This also continues to be important as you become more established in your career.  


What influence do you strive to have on female colleagues and in your wider network? 

I hope that I contribute to creating a supportive environment for female colleagues, students and my wider network by encouraging women to support each other and highlighting and sharing opportunities that become available.  I think that supporting fellow female colleagues is essential, especially for younger colleagues, so that we can help empower women throughout their careers and foster confidence in women to achieve their individual goals and fulfil their potential.    

Posted by SRUC on 08/03/2024

Tags: Policy
Categories: Research