The scientist supporting local communities

In 2017, Kay decided to explore her interest in economic development, leaving a career in scientific research to join one of EY’s newest and most exciting departments in Scotland.

Kay Greenshields

Cash Grants Manager, Kay, joined EY Glasgow via the Innovation Incentives team – part of the Tax division. “We help companies secure funding through R&D grants. The businesses we work with can be any size, in any sector. We’re open and accessible to all.”

“I was so excited at the prospect of joining,” says Kay. “Not just because economic development is something I care about, but because this was such a new offering for EY Glasgow, I knew I’d have the chance to help shape it into what it is today.”

Since she started over two years ago, her department have grown significantly. “It’s been a real success. We’re recruiting more people and developing new ideas that will help us stand out in the market.”

The power of collaboration

As Kay sees it, the thing that differentiates EY is the way we work with clients. “It’s important to us that we act as a partner. We want to be part of our client’s team, rather than offer a solution and then leave. Our mission is to get under the skin of the business so that we can do what’s right for them, and that’s something we’re quite proud of.”

According to Kay, this collaborative approach helped the team achieve one of their biggest successes. “A large company threatened to lay off 300 staff by closing a factory in Aberdeen, but we came in and wrote the business case to secure a grant with Scottish Enterprise. Because of our close relationship, we were able to facilitate the conversation and get the funding approved within a very short timeframe. It led to them not only safeguarding 300 jobs but also creating 100 more.”

A diverse and dynamic work culture

On leaving the science lab for EY, Kay says one of her biggest surprises was the culture. “I thought it would be stuffy and traditional – but it’s not like that at all. It’s so different from what you might expect from a big professional services firm.”

Her team come from a range of different backgrounds. “Some of us are from finance, yes, but there are lots of scientists and engineers, too.” According to Kay, they share a real sense of community. “This might sound cliched,” Kay laughs, “but we’re like a big family – we all get along so well. We work hard, but we have a lot of fun, too.”

Kay says that work-life balance is important for the whole team, and everyone is encouraged to take advantage of EY’s flexible-working policies. She uses her time to volunteer for an NHS Ethics Committee. “It’s so different from what I do at work, but it’s important to me. I feel very fortunate to be supported to do it.”


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