The second wedding of the year took us back to gorgeous Barcelona and what a fantastic evening it was, spent with special friends. Just a fleeting visit so no time for running on this occasions but we did sneak in a stroll down Barceloneta beach before flying home. Looking up towards the big fish, I realised what a long but exciting time it has been since my last blog.
I can now share my good news… Following on from my last blog, I have worked out my last week as a post-doctoral scientist and I no longer wear a white coat. I have diversified, am playing to my strengths, using my expertise and am working in a great team striving to drive science forward in more ways than I dreamed possible as an academic scientist…and its only my 3rd week!
How did I get myself here though? Well, after years of developing my skills as an endocrine scientist, volunteering and networking with several learned societies, passing my project management qualifications, I was actually brushed by a stroke of fate over Christmas, whereby a friend (who incidentally I had met through scientific networking) pointed me to a job advertised at the University of Birmingham. One application, an interview later and I was offered the job as Senior Research Facilitator for the School of Clinical and Experimental Science which is one of 4 schools within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham. I am now part of a great team of facilitators and administrators working on research development within the Research and Knowledge Transfer Office at the Medical School.
What is the role of the research facilitator? A very varied and sometimes high paced one! I am still learning the ropes but what I hope to offer…
- To contribute to identify and being successful in bidding for a great diversity of funding sources such as innovative partnerships with national and international public, commercial and charitable bodies, compensating for reductions in funding council budgets. (“Enhancing the research power” at the University of Birmingham)
- To establish and maintain a network of contacts to facilitate key functions including:
- Responsibility for establishing, implementing and developing relevant R&KT strategy
- Provide dedicated support to ensure research capabilities are effectively identified, promoted and supported
- To maintain oversight of the pre- and post-award processes
- Provide strategic input to R&KT support.
So, I will reiterate the statement in my previous blog post… There is no shame in deciding not to become a group leader, although I have to be honest here, no matter how successful you become in your chosen career, some will still insist there is…ignore them. You are going places, some of us are more effective utilising our academic training in other ways. You will drive science forward, even without a white coat! Just remember though, the moral of this story is to network, network, network. More on this tricky topic and my big move to Birmingham next time.
P.P.S For those of you interesting in or considering a move into research management/administration, there is a professional body (ARMA) offering comprehensive support, in the form of working groups, training days and a conference.