31 August 2022
Leaving the University of Sheffield
I joined the University of Sheffield in November 2016, taking up the role of Vice-President (Research and Innovation). Over time that role evolved such that in recent years I have overseen the Innovation portfolio, including knowledge exchange and regional engagement, and I have provided board level leadership for the Advanced Manufacturing Group, including the AMRC, the Nuclear AMRC and the AMRC Training Centre. Meanwhile I have continued to develop my own research, albeit in a more limited way than before, and of course I have continued to post to this blog.
My time at the University of Sheffield has been simply and truly wonderful. It has been a privilege to work with immensely talented and deeply passionate people. Sheffield is a wonderful city – so dynamic and so friendly, but so very modest about itself. I have many people to thank – it is impossible to pay tribute to you all – but I would like to highlight Elaine, who cleans my office and who is a true friend (I will miss our morning chats); Debbie and Niccole, my long-suffering PAs without whom I could not have functioned; Sarah, who provides inspirational leadership to the Partnership and Regional Engagement team; Vanessa, who leads the university’s exceptional cultural work across the region; Andy, who has transformed the ways in which we commercialise our research; Yasmin, who has brilliantly led the work that we undertake across South Yorkshire; and Wyn, who held the Education portfolio when I was leading research and innovation, and who has been a constant source of support. Behind those wonderful people is a huge wider community of academics and professional service staff, and of course my colleagues in the University executive Board. Thank you to you all.
I do also want to thank my colleagues who have worked with me to transform the AMG. The challenges we faced when we established this new leadership team were complex. Steve, Andy, Nikki, Iain and Beth, and the teams that they lead, have been an inspiration to me. The AMG is a true gem, and I leave it in the very best hands.
I feel proud of what we have achieved. Over the almost six years we changed the ways in which we support our research; we established four new Flagship Research Institutes; we developed a new approach to commercialisation (and I feel so proud of the spinout companies that emerged); we worked with the Universities of Manchester and Leeds to create Northern Gritstone; we created the Advanced Manufacturing Group and reset the strategy of the three component centres; we re-established the role of the University in South Yorkshire and beyond; we have developed the University of Sheffield Innovation District; and so much more. My role has never been anything more than to empower and support those people that do the real work, so the credit lies with them. And of course much of this has been achieved during Covid, which has been extraordinary in so many ways.
And so now to the the next step. I will leave this afternoon with great sadness but also real pride. The University of Sheffield has been the best of times in my career to date. Thank you Sheffield, I will be forever grateful. There are great times ahead for the institution.
And so to the University of Hull – I feel so very excited about my new role in an institution that is truly wonderful and special.