Profiled by RCUK

“Excellence with Impact” is the banner spanning the top of RCUK’s new website. At least a year after the EPSRC funded NOISE public engagement initiative ended, RCUK has taken the baton in inspiring the next generation into research careers. My profile at NOISE has been lifted and integrated into this new resource. The original profile at NOISE seemed, upon second reading several years later, very “young” – some maturation as a researcher has clearly taken place over the course of my PhD.

I think inspiring the next generation into adopting exciting research careers is amicable. I believe that the innovations and advancements made in research enhance quality of life and the economy, and I suspect I am not alone in this view: I keep reading stories of how Asian and Middle Eastern countries are pouring money into their universities. Jon Timmis (my PhD supervisor) had a large collection of PhD students arrive from Malaysia for their training; Malaysia wants to up its game. It is disheartening to read stories that the UK does not seem to appreciate this link: the UK government is instead freezing if not cutting the research budget, and loading students with phenomenal quantities of debt in exchange for their degrees. I have heard (informally) that the government’s squeeze on visas is also reducing the number of foreign students that can acquire UK university places; these students represent a substantial income to UK universities. My dear old Dad has said words to the effect that “you can’t become more competitive and more successful by cutting innovation and research” (also called shooting the golden goose?). Perhaps I, and others like me, had best start thinking about warmer climates, azure oceans and sandy beaches under foot. Sounds dreadful… could this be my new office?

So, coming full loop. Inspiring the next generation of researchers is fantastic, lets hope we also succeed in providing them with opportunities to engage in research once they come of age!