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Five minute profile: interview with Carly McAllan

Carly McAllan poses with a black labrador, sitting on a hill with a view of the sea
Five minute profiles

Research Data Scotland

31 May 2024

We caught up with Carly McAllan on life at RDS, and what work is involved in her role as Project Officer.

What’s your role at RDS and what does a typical workday involve? 

I joined Research Data Scotland at the beginning of 2024 as Project Officer in the data team, supporting and coordinating effective governance for RDS projects. Since starting RDS, I’ve been involved in administering, designing, and implementing grant-making tools and processes for the Research Access Service Accelerator Awards. This was an exciting project and a great first experience of working with partners from Public Health Scotland. RDS successfully awarded approximately £50,000 in grant-funding to three projects who will focus their research on mental health in Scotland. As many people have already said, no two days are the same and I’m looking forward to getting involved in more projects.  

What’s your background and how does it give you additional insight to your work at RDS? 

After graduating with an honours degree in nutrition, I worked at YouthBorders as Project and Partnership Coordinator. I was the central and supervisory contact for Scottish Borders wide youth work projects, taking leadership and responsibility for the management of project data, finances, and governance. This included coordination of meetings, setting agendas, monitoring and evaluating project delivery, producing regular reports, and training and supporting the project teams. During this time, I studied part time at Dundee University and completed a postgraduate diploma in community education.  


“I hope that we can play our part in making meaningful change to the people in Scotland by simplifying and speeding up access to public sector data.  ”

Carly McAllan, Project Officer

What’s a highlight and a challenge of your role? 

As RDS is a relatively new organisation, a highlight for me is the fact that I can suggest new ideas and ways of working and contribute to making RDS an inclusive organisation with a focus on best practice. As I am relatively new to the data world, a challenge for me was learning the data vocabulary and trying to get my head around the different roles, responsibilities and workstreams within RDS. RDS has a positive culture and everyone is extremely helpful, friendly, and supportive, so this made this process a lot easier.  

What difference do you hope RDS will make? 

I have always been passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of individuals and tackling health inequalities within the community. I hope that we can play our part in making meaningful change to the people in Scotland by simplifying and speeding up access to public sector data.  

What would be your "Mastermind" specialist subject? 

Gavin and Stacey, an all-time favourite. 

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? 

Lefty loosey, righty tighty. 


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