Ultimately my job is about supporting academics within the Faculty of Social Sciences to be successful in securing research income. Working with the Associate Dean for Research, Directors of Research and Research Managers within the seven Schools, my job involves:
- Providing information on funding schemes: advertising calls as they become live and developing relationships with some of the major funding bodies (ESRC, Leverhulme, Wellcome etc) so that we have a good understanding of scheme requirements and of where our research best fits;
- Supporting individual academics in the development of grant applications;
- Organising workshops as part of the Grants Factory programme, ensuring that our academics have the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the increasingly competitive funding environment; and,
- Generally supporting colleagues within the Faculty (and more widely across the University) to share good practice and generate new ideas in research management. Having worked for the past two years as Kent’s Eastern ARC Officer, for example, I am passionate about the opportunities for, and value of, intra- and inter-institutional collaborations. As a Team, Michelle, Helen, Carolyn and I hope to be able to develop more cross-institutional approaches (such as writing workshops) that can help to better connect academics across the University.
I came to the role fresh out of completing a PhD in Management at Kent Business School. Prior to that I had gained a Masters in Conservation Biology from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.
I returned to full time education after feeling disenchanted with my previous role within the NHS, where I had spent the previous 16 years of my working life. Working as a general manager, I carried out a range of roles and worked in a variety of different operational settings, including St George’s Hospital in Tooting and London Ambulance Service HQ.
A common feature of all of these roles, however, was that they were about facilitating positive change across complex systems. I feel that I have almost come full circle, then, in that that is exactly how I see my role within the Faculty and across the University.