I am a Research Project Manager managing the research portfolio of two groups: the Transplantation Research and Immunology Group (TRIG) and Verrill Pathology Group. I am also one of two NDS HTA PD’s (Human Tissue Authority Persons Designated) and from March to December 2020 was seconded to the Medical Sciences Divisional Office REF 2021 (Research Excellence Framework) team as a writer on the REF Impact Case Studies.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR ROLE
I co-ordinate and facilitate development of research in the TRIG (Transplantation Research and Immunology Group) and Verrill Pathology Groups which is a varied and complex project management role with responsibility at both strategic and operational levels. I joined the department in 2005 as a PA to Professor Kathryn Wood. This was a new role and so it was within my remit to develop and expand the role to fit operational requirements. I quickly became the project manager for Oxford work packages on several EU funded grants, and also became heavily involved in the Women in Transplantation programme developed by Kathryn when she was President of the Transplantation Society, where we developed a world-wide mentoring scheme for women in transplantation related fields. I had the opportunity through both of these roles to travel widely with Kathryn and become immersed in transplantation research.
In 2017 I was asked to begin working with Asst. Professor Clare Verrill, at that time a relatively new PI in NDS, to share my knowledge and experience of the research environment.
The role as NDS HTA PD (Human Tissue Authority Persons Designated) followed, in response to preparations for an HTA inspection, which was ultimately very successful. PD’s are recognised as one of the four primary roles under HTA licensing. Our role is to assist the HTA Licence Designated Individual in ensuring compliance with HTA standards, developing procedures, and reporting incidents.
I applied for the secondment to the REF team as a personal development opportunity and as a way of understanding and becoming involved in the work of the Divisional offices and the wider University.
WHAT IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL ASPECT OF YOUR WORK?
It’s difficult to pick one aspect - engagement with colleagues, providing support to enable progress, removing barriers, thinking laterally, using the knowledge and experience I have gained over the last 15 years in the University to help advance the research agenda.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOMETHING YOU’VE DONE, CONTRIBUTED TO THAT YOU’RE MOST PROUD OF?
I’m proud of the support I have offered professionally, personally and emotionally to graduates undertaking their DPhil and to other students who have joined our groups. Encouraging them when things have gone badly, supporting them through difficult personal times and willing them over the finish line. My input into all the research programmes I am involved in; making things happen; enabling progress, developing important beneficial relationships with industry and other stakeholders. My contribution to the successful HTA inspection. More recently, my contribution to the REF impact cases; sometimes challenging but very enjoyable.
WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SEE IN THE MEDICAL SCIENCES IN THE NEXT 100 YEARS?
Mostly I would like to see the removal of any remaining barriers for women to progress in either research or clinical careers, or a combination of both. On a wider scale, funding for research to continue expanding. As the recent pandemic has shown, research is everything!