As the newly appointed Head of School of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, it has been a challenging few months.
The role is a double-edged sword as inevitably it leaves less time for research, which I remain passionate about, but on the other hand it gives an opportunity to consider new directions and ideas.
One thing which is critical to our on-going success is team-work. This allows us to create something bigger than the sum of its parts, which is even more important in these challenging times. In the research arena, we have the opportunity to bring together individuals with different, but compatible, skill sets to address a common problem from a novel and comprehensive viewpoint. Such collaborations may be in the form of truly interdisciplinary research projects, or looking closer to home, involving our nearby colleagues in our research ideas, grants and projects. In this way, we can create a collaborative infrastructure that is both enjoyable to work in and externally competitive. This leads me naturally to thank my excellent research team and the whole of Level E, for creating such an enjoyable working environment and one which I hope to replicate across the School.
On the subject of collegiality, one thing which has surprised me when I took up this post, was the number of individuals who have served the University for over 20 years and earned themselves long-service awards. I spent my first few weeks tracking them down in order to present the awards and to get a photographic record for use in our first CES newsletter, due out shortly. This activity helped me get to know some of the parts of CES that I hadn’t really any idea existed, and I also stumbled across the “Hundred Year” Office. Congratulations and thanks should go to the three occupants of this office (Carolann, Laurie and Richard) who have amassed nearly 100 years of service to the University between them.
Creating the right working environment is something that is beholden on us all, and is also free, but I would look particularly to our senior staff to lead this endeavour and nurture the young talent that we have across the School and the Faculty. We often complain about our environment, and I have already heard a number of these gripes, but I think it important to remember that our greatest asset remains our human resource, and one which we should value, perhaps a little more than we currently do.