Leaving the Lab: Sunrise Setting succeed with Science graduates

Sunrise Setting Ltd have helped to produce more than 500 publications for academic publishers over the last 40 years. Based at the University’s Brixham Laboratory – a hub for local, national and international businesses across the marine sector – their team of 14 are experts in academic project management, copyediting, proofreading and indexing. They offer a less traditional route into degree-level work for science graduates who are looking to work outside the lab and classroom.

Copyediting is one of the core skills Sunrise Setting requires for their business, and with often complex academic material to work with, they need individuals that are educated to degree level in the sciences, amongst others, to understand and interpret this material. Director, Jessica Stock, explains: 

“We have seen the benefits of recruiting graduates into copyediting roles and this often leads to further progression into project management positions. Recruiting graduates in this way allows us to expand our capacity and skill sets within the business and meet clients’ needs.”

Jessica worked with the University’s STEM Graduates into Business project to hire Biological Sciences graduate Kurtis Hickford. The project provides financial grants of up to £3,600 for businesses to contribute towards recruitment costs, as well as free advertising on local and regional graduates’ platforms and co-ordination of the application process. Jessica explains:

“Whilst we have good ties with the University and access to the graduate market, the opportunity to work with the STEM Graduates into Business project allowed us to access valuable financial grants and take advantage of the support available through the recruitment process, which can often be lengthy and time consuming. Working with the STEM Graduates team certainly saved us time and still provided us with a valuable employee in Kurtis.”

Kurtis started his role as trainee copyeditor before the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown came into force, and so was able to start in the Sunrise Setting offices before moving to work from home. Kurtis said:

“I knew I wanted to go into an area of work related to my degree but not necessarily the traditional routes. I always liked reading about the latest research and breakthroughs in all areas of science so to be able to work on this for my first job since leaving university has been really enjoyable. I can improve my business and writing skills and I hope to progress to areas such as project management in the STEM area.

"I was lucky that I started before we moved to work from home and so I was able to learn alongside my colleagues during the first few months of the job. The move to work from home was challenging at first but thanks to regular meetings and small group sessions via video calls, I am able to keep learning and improving my work.”

Sunrise Setting saw an increase in academic publications during 2020, partly because of the global pandemic. Jessica concludes: 

“Having Kurtis in his role before the pandemic hit has allowed us to have that extra resource in place to be able to support what for us is a growing sector. Working with the STEM Graduates team at the University was an overwhelmingly positive experience and one we would like to repeat when the time is right.”

Publications supported by Sunrise Setting

  • James Baldwin Review

  • Mathematical Studies (Core Maths)

  • Medical History

  • Loss Models: From Data to Decisions

  • The SAGE Handbook of Frankfurt School of Critical Theory

Project funding

STEM Graduates into Business is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Utilising this funding, the project aims to:

  • Address SME innovation challenges through graduate internships focused on transformational business projects
  • Raise leadership and management capability levels in SMEs, particularly regarding recruitment and employment
  • Create a growing network of graduate-employing SMEs across the area, leading to longer-term opportunities for graduates and their retention in the local economy.

This project will run until 30 June 2021, regardless of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

More information about University of Plymouth projects funded by the European Development Fund