Becky Gregory-Clarke has, during her time at the BBC, worked on mobile camera technology that changes the way we view sport.
Find out what qualifications she had to bring her to the front of digital broadcasting.
Can you tell us a little about what you do?
I'm a trainee technologist on the BBC’s R & D (Research & Development) scheme, which is two years long and involves three placements.
What kinds of projects do you work on?
My first project was looking at a new generation of HD (High Definition) radio cameras, because there’s a lot more demand for them now.
I’m now working in a section called audience experience, looking at recommendation algorithms...the sort of applications on iPlayer that recommends things you might like to watch. We're looking for ways to make it better.
How did you find your way into the BBC?
I studied Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Bristol. That had a year study in France and was a four-year Master of Engineering degree. Then I worked for a little while at a company called Deltenna near Chippenham as an antennae engineer. I then took a little time out travelling and eventually ended up here.
What kinds of subjects did you study at school?
I studied GCSE electronics as my school offered that. It wasn’t a very popular course, but I really enjoyed it. I’ve always been technical - my father is a scientist - so that’s why.
I enjoyed electronics because I knew nothing about it when I started, and two years later I could build little circuits and know what they did. I thought that was really cool at the time.
I then for A level maths, further maths, French, chemistry and physics. Eventually I got offered a place at Bristol and ended up there.
Is the BBC R & D training programme broad enough to cover all your interests?
Yes. It doesn’t necessary sound it, but my degree was actually broad because it covered everything from digital communications to power stations. It could have gone in lots of different ways, so for a while it was difficult to know what I would do with it.
But, my final year thesis was in multiple camera view calibration which I chose because it was interesting. When I found out about this BBC job and how relevant it was, I started to look at all the things you can do here. I was overwhelmed by the choice and I really like how the trainee scheme allows you to explore the different parts to find out what I’m good at and what I might like before settling in a permanent role.
The BBC R & D Department. Photo by Mark Bassett
Do people ever think that it’s unusual to be a woman doing an engineering job?
I think that it’s not really portrayed as a very normal thing for girls to do. I think [the fact] that I had a parent with a scientific background helped because I was always encouraged along that route. I think that it’s important for girls to be told ‘yes, you can do anything you want’.
So there have been no obstacles?
No, not really. At the end of it I have the same level of qualifications as everybody else. There’s nothing that stops me from doing it just because I’m a woman, it’s just people’s preconceptions.
Being at the BBC, do you think about the huge numbers of people that your work can reach?
Definitely, I think that’s part of what makes it exciting. In my last one [project] with radio cameras, I got to go on an outside broadcast at Wembley Stadium to see the cameras being used. When you see them in the environment and that someone is actually going to hold it and run around and make a TV programme, that’s really good.
Given that the BBC is about reaching as many people as possible do you think the R & D department plays a large part?
Yes definitely, but I don’t think that it’s always obvious and I think that’s a shame. R & D was crucial in making cameras mobile. They’re now used in sport and follow people around and run up and down a touchline on a pitch. That makes a huge difference to the way you view a programme, but people don’t realise that it came out of R & D.
What do you do outside of work?
I like climbing, hiking and mountaineering. I’m also really into the music scene in London.