Janet Stacey

Digital sciences engineer

Janet Stacey always knew she’d end up with a career in science.
“Growing up, I loved animals and nature. I enjoyed biology at school so always thought I’d have a career in science,” she explains.

But Janet has also always felt the urge to challenge herself and learn more.

“My career has been full of pivots,” she reflects. “Initially, I thought I’d be a vet nurse, then I turned that into a fascination with biology, and from there my focus went to forensics. I love logic puzzles and computer games so, from forensics, it was a simple step to turn my interest to bioinformatics/data.”

Now Janet works as a digital sciences engineer for ESR. It’s a career that has her working on research projects across the company, mostly coding or helping create machine learning models.

For Janet, each day is different, with unique challenges at every turn. “Some problems are easy fixes, some involve days of trawling the net for an answer,” she says.

Janet is involved in training staff and students, helping promote good data and statistical design practices and creating data science policy for ESR. She’s also involved in shaping the way CRIs use data science to create open, collaborative science for New Zealand.

Janet recognises there are challenges for women in science; in particular, the challenge around overcoming male stereotyping and unconscious bias that exists in many areas of science. But Janet has a simple solution: “Don’t let it matter. If you love something and want to get involved in a particular area of science, then get involved. People will appreciate your enthusiasm, and that enthusiasm and appreciation will lead to changes in the culture.”