1 What does your work at the University of Wolverhampton
I am responsible for all our research, knowledge transfer
activities and external activities related to these areas. I was
involved in the recent Research Assessment Exercise, and in our
work with local businesses and organisations applying the
University’s intellectual strengths in the community at large.
2 What do you enjoy most about the role and find most
I think seeing young researchers and people working in knowledge
transfer develop. Also seeing the impact the University’s knowledge
and research has on the community. This could be in the form of a
start-up company or an organisation that has substantially improved
because of the application of the University’s knowledge base. I
think seeing people reach their potential has been rewarding
throughout my career, and I still hear from former students who
have gone on to great things in industry, commerce and
3 What do you think were the key factors that led to our
success in the RAE 2008?
In one word – people. Higher education is a people business. But
I would also say our focus and organisation. We decided what we
wanted to do, set out to do it and achieved our aims.
4 How do you see the significant increase in research
funding changing the face of the University?
People are now beginning to realise that we have real potential,
strengths and opportunities in the area of research. We always knew
that there were good things happening here, but we needed to get
some external assessment credibility and the RAE gives us that
external credibility. Now we can go forward, evolve and develop. We
have world class research at Wolverhampton, and now we have the
evidence. But I think it is important that we do not rest on our
laurels and we move forward and think of the next steps. There is
no reason why Wolverhampton should not be known as a centre of
research excellence in many areas.
5 What do you think has been the University’s greatest
achievement or development during your time as Pro
The recognition that our knowledge transfer work is second to
none in the West Midlands. We are also one of the best in the
country for working with small and medium-sized enterprises.
Externally and internally we are good at doing the difficult
things. That is our real strength and our key role. I think if we
work within challenging circumstances and produce results, then
that is real achievement.
The University and people within it can be really proud of its
successes in working with organisations and individuals who are not
the traditional recipients of higher education.
6 If you were at University today, what subject would
you like to study or research?
All of them! I would probably do exactly what I did all over
again. I started with engineering, and there is nothing better in
my opinion as the basis for a career. I then went on to a Masters
and Doctorate in Business and Management. But in terms of interest,
I would like to do something in History or English.
7 What are your other interests?
I am heavily involved with our local church and I have a real
interest in history, music and art. I also love wild places like
the Scottish Highlands and Islands. The further north the
I have interests in a wide range of things and I think that is
the great joy of a university education – whole new fields are
opened up to you.
8 What are you looking forward to about your
The difficulty with working life is managing to fit everything
in around work commitments so I am looking forward to being able to
spend time with my many interests. I have loved my work here, and
it is a place that offered me all I wanted in terms of
challenge and local relevance. It has been fun and work should be
fun. The RAE outcome was the icing on the cake for me and I am
ending on a real high, so I am really grateful for that.
9 What do you feel has been your greatest personal
I don’t really think in those terms. Life is full of
achievements and setbacks! In general terms my greatest achievement
has been to pass on to those who come afterwards the joys and
challenges of education. All you can do is passon the knowledge
gained from your mistakes and successes to the next generation, and
it is important to do so in both your family and work lives.
In the immediate past my greatest achievement has been to
instigate the new ‘Consultant’ academic posts in the institution –
permanent, knowledge transfer posts as part of the wider academic
community – something that is important for the future growth of
University knowledge transfer.
10 Who do you admire and why?
I admire Martin Luther King. He had a vision and he also had the
ability to motivate people to achieve that vision. I admire people
who can see what needs to be done and are able through the force of
their ideas, to lead, motivate and challenge people to do it, and
that is the combination that I really respect.