Improvise, adapt and (hopefully) overcome

As the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK continues, it’s starting to look like our shared efforts are helping to mitigate the impact of the virus. But still the disease has taken, and will continue to take, its heavy toll. I’m heartened, though, by our ability to come together at this time of crisis. By our ability to improvise, to adapt and (hopefully) to overcome. Continue reading

Hang on in there

I was going to write about how to work remotely or from home. After all, I’ve been doing it for more than a decade. But hundreds of people have beaten me to it. So you don’t need my advice about creating a work ‘zone’, managing your routine or making sure you stay in touch. Which is probably for the best, because it all somewhat misses the point. Continue reading

Making family leave more family friendly

It’s no secret that juggling a family and a career is far from easy. But early-career academic researchers hoping to start a family have it harder than most. Fixed-term contracts, less-than-sympathetic funders and the need to stay ‘in the game’ make family leave a nervous time. But there are ways to make it work.

Image

The UK Research Staff Association recently undertook a survey of researchers on fixed-term contracts, to explore their experiences of taking family leave.

I then worked with the UKRSA – on a pro bono basis – to analyse the results of the survey.

This allowed us to identify how researchers can get the most from their family leave, without feeling that they’re sacrificing their career.

We were also able to determine some simple steps that employers can take to manage researchers’ family leave in a supportive way.

We’ve summarised the findings from our work in a short ‘top tips’ guide for researchers and their employers. You can download your free copy here or find the guide on the UKRSA website.

I’m always keen to use my skills to help with projects like this, which make a real difference to people in the sectors in which I work. If you have a project that you think I might be able to help with, please do feel free to drop me a line.

Understanding university finance

UUF ImageI’m delighted to announce that the British Universities Finance Directors Group’s new guide to ‘Understanding University Finance’ has just been published.

I’ve been working with colleagues at BUFDG for the last few months to prepare this guide, which is essential reading for all those who want – or need – to understand higher education finance.

You can download the guide for free on the BUFDG website. You can also read Matt Sisson’s blog post, explaining why the guide is both timely and important.

Huge thanks to all of the reviewers, who kindly gave of their time and expertise to help to make the guide better. And to BUFDG, for asking me to write it in the first place.

Calling all sportspeople…

This survey is now closed. Thank you to all those individuals and clubs who submitted a response. I’ve very grateful for your participation in and engagement with the study.

I’m currently working with Sport England to help the organisation to review the effectiveness of its ‘Clubmark’ sports club accreditation scheme and to explore options for its future operation.

We’re keen to know what sports clubs and activities think about the scheme and how they feel it could better support them. To this end, we’ve developed a short online survey for all sports clubs and activities, regardless of whether or not they have engaged with Clubmark.

If you’re part of a sports club or activity, or know someone who is, please make sure your club completes the survey. It’ll take less than ten minutes and will help Sport England to provide your club and your sport with the support it needs.

You can find the survey here.