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February 11, 2023 | Lauren Grainger

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Read time: 7min

11th February 2023 marks the International Day of Women and Girls in Science a day dedicated to strengthening access to education and broadening the opportunities for women and girls to develop their careers in the sciences all over the world. At Group55, we’re proud to have a female-led technical team who have grown our lab from the ground up and day in day out work on innovation, product development and testing. We caught up with 3 of our lab team about how their interest in science developed and how they ended up in their roles at Group55…

Kate Horton – Director of Technical Services

Kate Horton Director of Technical Services working on a formulation in the Group55 Lab

Tell us a little about your background…

“I always had a passion for science and actually wanted to be a forensic scientist in the early days (probably watching to many crime dramas) so I did my degree in Forensic Science!

Once graduated I found myself at a contract manufacturer working in Pet nutraceuticals doing quality control and regulatory affairs. My focus then changed to research and development (R&D), cooking up interesting formulations and spent 4 years creating many different personal care formulations for all sorts of clients.

I was then presented with an offer I couldn’t refuse from Group55, the proposition was to create an R&D lab from scratch, to be able to build my own team, source all equipment and set up protocols including in-house testing. As a young chemist, I recognised this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that couldn’t be missed.

Since then, we have created and manufactured a huge amount of products in the personal care and pet care sector. I also won the 2020 Lancashire Business View Sub 36 Made in Lancashire Award for creating a moisturising alcohol hand gel during the covid pandemic which was a pretty proud moment for me!”

When did you know you wanted to have a career in science?

“I always loved science at school, conducting experiments and understanding what happens when you add materials to other materials. Whilst I loved the subject, I didn’t think I would be smart enough to gain a career in science, mainly due to being dyslexic. But I followed my passion and worked hard and I think I’ve done alright since then!”

What is your favourite part of your job?

“My job has evolved from being experimental in the lab to being more strategic at a Director level. What I really love day to day is talking to new clients about their ideas and how we can support and inspire them on their journey to create a finished product. I also really enjoy scale-up chemistry, taking a product from the lab bench of 2kg to large volumes in the factory, particularly when the formulations are complex.

What would your advice be to women and young girls considering a career in science?

“Don’t think you aren’t worthy, always have confidence in your own ability and just go for it. Even if something looks scary, it’s always worth jumping in as it may be the best decision you ever make. That’s what I did and I couldn’t be happier!”


Monika Panditputra – Junior Development Chemist


Tell us a little about your background…

“I did my undergraduate studies at Mumbai University in India where I gained by BSc in Botany. I’ve always had a passion for science and also enjoyed teaching Biology and Chemistry to grades 9-10 for 4 years in India. I then moved to the UK for postgraduate studies and gained my MSc in Cosmetic Science at Liverpool John Moores University and joined Group55 after graduating! Continuing on the path of study I’m currently pursuing my Diploma in Cosmetic Science by SCS (Society of Cosmetic Science) whilst working as a Junior Development Chemist at Group55.”

When did you know you wanted to have a career in science?

“I’ve found plants and animals fascinating for as long as I can remember and always had a curiosity about all things science. In school, I really enjoyed my science classes and practical lab sessions where we got to conduct experiments. Once I was introduced to a microscope at school I was hooked! I knew I wanted to study those microbes further. My initial pursuits in my career centred around plants and fragrances and I did a range of perfumery courses in India too which cemented my decision to pursue science!”

What is your favourite part of your job?

“Product innovation has been my favourite part of the job so far. It allows me to play with different textures, ingredients, colours, fragrances… No limits! It’s so fun to be able to start with an idea or a curiosity and see what we can create to offer to our customers.

I also have a secret love for colour matching for certain products and trying to get it close to the brief and ensuring colour consistency across batches – it can sometimes be a challenge but it’s fun and so satisfying when we get it right!”

What would your advice be to women and young girls considering a career in science?

“Not just for women considering a career in science, but for absolutely any field, if you set your sights on something, go and get it! If you commit to your goal and give it all that you’ve got, the wonders of science won’t disappoint you.”

Elise Roberts – Lab Technician

Tell us a little about your background…

“My background isn’t actually that closely tied to cosmetic science, in fact, I combined my hobby and love for horses with my passion for science and gained my BSc in Equine Science from Myerscough College.

Upon graduating, I then worked in a respiratory and covid lab for 1 year which was really interesting, but ultimately showed me that microbiology wasn’t the field for me – so I started looking for other roles in science where I found the opportunity in 2022 with Group55! After doing some research I thought it could be very fitting for me and aligned with my interests personally as well – cosmetics and pet care.”

When did you know you wanted to have a career in science?

“I’d always found myself drawn to science throughout school and my childhood and I studied applied science and psychology at a-levels. This is where I knew for sure that science was the path for me to follow!”

What is your favourite part of your job?

“As Lab Technician, I take a lot of responsibility for our in-house testing ensuring the quality of the products we produce. But I’d have to say my favourite part of my job is making batches and helping Monika with innovation projects – There is so much creativity and innovation happening in the technical department at Group55 and working in such an exciting environment is one side of the job that I really enjoy.“

What would your advice be to women and young girls considering a career in science?

“My advice would be that just because one aspect of science may not be your cup of tea there will be a topic/subject within science that will catch your eye and spark your passion. There is so much more to science than the basics taught in school – For example, in school, it would have never crossed my mind that a career in science would mean creating leading beauty and pet products!

Once you start your career and take that step, listen to your peers and take in everyone’s wisdom, but also be inquisitive, theorise, experiment and find the fun and joy in what you do.”

Want to work with our incredible chemists to develop your products? You can get in touch with us here.

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