Investing in research, family and me

Investing in research, family and me
Dr Alison Wall
Associate Director, Building Leadership
Alison Wall
Investing in research
My career key steps
You create your own story!
Associate Director, Building Leadership
Looking after the strategic plan goal
No budget – all influence!
Member of the Leadership Team
Line manager in a matrix model
Royal Charter - 2003 (replacing Founding Charter
of 1993)
The objects for which the Council is established and incorporated are:
 to promote and support, by any means, high-quality basic,
strategic and applied research and related post-graduate training
in engineering and the physical sciences;
 to advance knowledge and technology (including the promotion
and support of the exploitation of research outcomes), and provide
trained scientists and engineers, which meet the needs of users and
beneficiaries thereby contributing to the economic
competitiveness of Our United Kingdom and the quality of life;
 in relation to the activities as engaged in by the Council under (i) and
(ii) above and in such manner as the Council may see fit:
to generate public awareness;
to communicate research outcomes;
to encourage public engagement and dialogue;
to disseminate knowledge; and
to provide advice.
The UK is first in the world in terms of research productivity, second
in the world in terms of research excellence and yet well behind in
terms of R&D spend
Maths research alone was worth over £200 billion to the UK
economy in 2010
Engineering is pervasive and highly dynamic, with engineering
research underpinning almost every economic sector and
contributing an estimated £280 billion in GVA to the UK economy in
Physics-based businesses account for more than one million jobs in
the UK and contribute £77 billion to the UK economy directly (with
high-value physics-based manufacturing accounting for 500,000 jobs
and £20 billion).
The UK’s ‘upstream’ chemicals industry and downstream’ chemistryusing sectors contributed a combined total of £258 billion in valueadded in 2007, equivalent to 21% of UK GDP, and supported over 6
million UK jobs
One vision
Our vision is for the UK to be the best place
in the world to research and innovate
Three Strategies
Balancing capability
To maintain the UK’s reputation for excellence and keep it at the
heart of global research and innovation
Building leadership
To nurture the next generation of skilled researchers and
innovators and provide the knowledge and skills vital to a healthy,
sustainable and prosperous society
Accelerating impact
To support more extensive and rapid exploitation of research
EPSRC provides national and international leadership while working in
close partnership with others
UK universities – 33 Framework, Strategic and Corresponding
University partnerships
Industry – 28 Strategic Partnerships and over 2,800 collaborations
Government Departments – BIS, DfT, DH, MoD, DECC
Other Research Councils
Other Funding Agencies – Innovate UK
Other Public Sector organisations – Science Museum, National
EPSRC as an Investor
EPSRC looks to build a relationship over time with
the people it supports
With our investment come responsibilities and
Doing the best for the UK research community
demands national leadership and occasionally
making unpopular decisions
Current challenges
Talented people for the economy
Early career support
Attracting, developing and retaining top
research leaders
Research Leaders
- my observations
• Nurture
• Network
• Influence
• Connect others
• Practice soft power
• Are naïve
• Take risks
• Have considerate passion
• Contribute to the greater good
• Team players / individuals
My career (!)
Imperial College – Geology in the Royal School of Mines
PhD and post doc in Mineral Physics
High end computing support
High end computing; facilities and high end computing; Chemistry;
Infrastructure and the Environment; Energy
Mission programmes, Accelerating Impact, Building Leadership
Two periods of maternity leave – three children; stayed in touch and
returned to the same roles
Secondment to the Energy Technologies Institute
Take learning from everywhere
Pick up bits from all around
Key people you meet in your day job and outside
Work colleagues
Family and friends ….
Multidisciplinarity / interdisciplinarity
My PhD – geology, chemistry, physics, materials, computing …..
Learning to handle difficult situations
Shutting a computing service
Introducing single panels
Shaping capability
Accelerating Impact
I can do a different role
Picking some issues…
Facility tickets
People in chemistry
Energy theme
Impact Acceleration Accounts
Be brave – ETI secondment
Company environment
ETI Board
ETI experience with interns
Call that a campaign?
Worked a lot with Amnesty International
Parliamentary process
Leadership development
New language – emotional intelligence, supporting each other
Support from colleagues
What Lesley learnt
Have fun it helps you when things are difficult
Have a great support network- Partner
Always take the opportunity
My network just keeps coming back
Never be afraid, respectful but not afraid
Help others get on, they will help you get on
I like change and being a little on the edge
Lessons from sport
Lots of raw talent
Growing international competition
Relentless focus on excellence
Sounds familiar?
Talent is not enough, it needs
Nurture and support (inc. getting tough occasionally)
Find your ladders and
step over the snakes!
Its more than the research!
•Develop your self
•Your networks
•Your Opportunities
•Who do you aspire to be!
Have fun!
My rules for balance
Keep it in perspective – what really matters? (Time
with your family and friends)
Family time – 6 pm to 10:30 pm
Don’t work at weekends – unless late at night!
Holidays – mostly holiday – to take a laptop or not?
We spend time as a family on holidays and weekends
Lots of diary juggling – for work and play!
Big white board
Make time for school things now and again – I
grab the opportunity if I can
Don’t miss the school play, birthdays etc…
Unlike the advert!!
Out and about on a Sunday
Do something hard you need to think about and which
involves everyone
My sea kayak …..
More sea kayaking – and back to diversity
Some thoughts…
Enjoy learning new things
Look out for learning all around
Don’t be afraid to move on
Keep it in balance
Keep it in perspective
Have fun!

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