Year-end spending inhibits proactive planning

Over the last couple of months, I have been sent a steady string of emails with reference to various funding sources internal to our university, but the vast majority of them come with a substantial string attached – “funds must be spent by July 31, 2022.” On one hand, it is great that additional funds like this exist, but on the other, the push to spend rapidly prompts a number of issues around equality and…

Continue reading


Wasting time and money through ineffective evaluation

Over the last 11 months chairing our departmental research committee, I’ve gained a much broader understanding of the administrative workload that goes into decision-making at universities. Inevitably, this experience is unique and many universities will do things differently, but there are some insights that I feel readers will be interested in hearing and I would be equally keen to hear how other institutions approach similar issues. With increasing demands on our time, it is important…

Continue reading


How a business administration partner can deliver ‘stratactical’ value across an organization

Editor’s note: We are delighted to have a guest series from Lynn Walder, an executive administrator with more than 20 years’ experience (including 10 years focused on biotech), and a passionate advocate of the executive-level business administration function. In this article, Lynn discusses how a business administration partner can deliver what she calls ‘stratactical’ value across an organization. In my experience, the challenges a chief executive officer at a biotech company faces are no different than what…

Continue reading


Finding good papers in the age of social media and reduced travel

Between raising two children under the age of five, weathering a  pandemic and becoming increasingly motivated to reduce my carbon footprint, I have travelled a huge amount less than normal over the past two years. Concomitant with this, the ways in which research findings are communicated has changed with the rise of social media, preprint servers and the suite of metrics to evaluate science and scientists. The landscape has completely shifted and, perhaps unsurprisingly, we’ve…

Continue reading


‘Manager of the miscellaneous:’ why you need a business administration partner

Editor’s note: We are delighted to have a guest series from Lynn Walder, a 20-plus year career executive administrator (with more than 10of those years focused on biotech), and a passionate advocate of executive-level business administration function. In this article, Lynn discusses the evolution of the admin role and, in her next guest article, will focus on how organizations can better integrate them into their operations. In my experience, the challenges a chief executive officer…

Continue reading


Trust is the key to being more productive — and academics stink at it

Maybe it’s the way we’ve been trained – assess, criticize, look for the gaps, and definitely do not just believe what it says on the tin. Whatever the reasons, the further I go in my career, the more I realize that I need to rely on other people to get jobs done. Alongside this, I have observed that people in senior positions have either built a network they trust, or they are run completely ragged trying…

Continue reading


Reflections on raising a child – and a company

I find I’m often at odds with conventional thinking, particularly when it comes to education and entrepreneurship. I appreciate that for many, a clear delineation of personal and professional responsibilities is important, and business should be kept impersonal given the many difficult decisions that need to be made regularly for the interest of the company or its investors; I happen to disagree. My father has shared a lot of advice with me over the years,…

Continue reading


Men as allies – panel discussion sharing ideas for gender equality

Last month, I took part in a panel discussion organized by the Cambridge Association for Women and Science in Engineering (CamAWiSE) entitled “Men as Allies: Approaching Equality Together” which was put together to discuss how to change the STEMM workplace culture to be more inclusive and diverse. My contribution was fairly limited to relaying my experience as a male scientific group leader who has taken two significant periods of parental leave and so it was…

Continue reading