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Professor Brian Walker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research Strategy & Resources, shares his first impressions of Newcastle and his initial thoughts on framing a research strategy for the University.  

My first month in Newcastle as Pro Vice Chancellor for Research Strategy & Resources has flown by. So far, I have: visited at least 20 University buildings; had more than 50 one-to-one meetings; hosted 5 focus groups including 4 with early career researchers; attended 2 world cafés, half a dozen different committees, and several training events; and learned countless new acronyms … and I am delighted to report that everything they told me about the University and the city before I arrived is true! 

Newcastle is a friendly and welcoming place, with world-leading research and excellent teaching going hand-in-hand, and an ambitious leadership team that is determined to involve everyone in building a bright future for the University. What they didn’t mention is that the professional services staff are every bit as impressive as the academics, and that nowhere is more than a 10 minute bike ride away from King’s Gate! 

Of course I’ve heard about the challenges too, and I still have a long way to go up the ‘learning curve’ and many more of you to meet. However, it is clear to me that – as we define the ‘skeleton’ of our research strategy over the next few months and put ‘flesh on the bones’ thereafter – we have a great opportunity to be ambitious in framing the content of our research (the ‘what’), assertive and imaginative about the way we do research (the ‘how’), and attractive to talented researchers and research-led students (the ‘who’). If we get this right then the metrics will surely follow. I am looking forward to many more engrossing conversations about research at Newcastle, but first impressions count so thank you for making such a positive one on me.

Professor Brian Walker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research Strategy & Resources

published on: 12th October 2017


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