Dr Shona Blair, Head of Research Strategy, Faculty of Medicine
Describe your job in a few words:
Develop and support strategic research initiatives
What’s the best thing about your role?
Supporting world leading researchers, and the team I work with.
What’s the most challenging thing about your role?
Understanding the depth and breadth of the research we do, the complexities of our structure and our engagement with the NHS.
What’s the proudest moment of your career?
Giving a key note address on my research, while the world leader in my field was in the audience, and receiving very positive feedback from him.
I heard that you’ve done some research on bees and honey – tell us a little about that:
As a former microbiologist, I’ve been involved in research into the antimicrobial and other therapeutic properties of honey, with a particular focus on manuka from Australia and New Zealand, for quite a few years. (more…)
As you may be aware, I am at home recovering from a spinal injury sustained in a car accident in Zimbabwe, where I was visiting one of our research units; I hope to be back after Easter. In the meanwhile, I am immensely grateful to Martin Wilkins who has stepped in as Acting Dean while I am away from College, and would also like to thank all of my colleagues for their well-wishes and their continuing support of the Faculty during this time. My enforced spell of reflection is, of course, very frustrating given the outstanding opportunities that currently stand before the Faculty, and the College as a whole. However, it has afforded me some time to reflect on how best to realise these emerging opportunities for Medicine.
In July 2018, not long after my appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, I wrote in the College Staff Briefing about the distinctive environment that medical science now enjoys at Imperial. I wrote of the extraordinary benefits of Medicine now being well-embedded within the wider ecosystem of excellent fundamental science at the College, while working translationally with our AHSC network of NHS partners. I also described the new opportunities that have been catalysed across the College by the development of our White City Campus, particularly through exploiting adjacency to the Hammersmith Campus. Since I wrote that piece, Novartis have announced their intention to relocate their UK headquarters to White City, elegantly demonstrating the ‘pulling power’ of our emerging life sciences cluster. (more…)
March marks the launch of our redesigned Faculty of Medicine internal newsletter, which is now being delivered to the inboxes of postgraduate research student members of our community as well as all Faculty staff members. The monthly email has taken on a new style and design following an extensive redesign project.
We in the Faculty’s Communications Team wanted to provide an insight into the redesign project and how changes made to the newsletter were driven by your feedback.
Why change the newsletter?
Although the Faculty newsletter scored positively in the 2017 Staff Survey – 70 per cent of staff agreed or strongly agreed that it was a useful communication channel – we were keen to review a structure that had remained largely unchanged for around five years. With the Faculty newsletter a crucial component of our internal communications, we felt there was a clear need to freshen the design and ensure it evolved to fit the needs of our community.
The newsletter was also designed at a time when it was the main piece of medicine-specific internal communications; necessitating a broad and varied remit. Since then, the Faculty’s departments have developed their own newsletters, which now cover a significant proportion of the newsletter’s original scope. (more…)
Joana Dos Santos explains a new short course for Master’s students, IMPACTS (Inclusive Module on Professional And Critical Thinking Skills):
IMPACTS is an elective, non-credit bearing short-course for PG students in the Faculty of Medicine.
What is the IMPACTS short course aiming to address?
As professionals, most of our skills have been acquired and refined through years of practice and interactions within our own scientific community. These essential skills to success notably include identifying key literature, critically engaging with different types of scientific publications, presenting data efficiently as well as interpreting and critically discussing complex data sets. Importantly, we might take some of these skills for granted and consequently expect our students to demonstrate them without having necessarily taught them, or taken into account the cultural, educational, linguistic or learning difficulties background of our students. (more…)
The HR Transformation Project will be transitioning the Faculty of Medicine’s HR departments into the new College HR Structure on Monday 4 March. This is the beginning of improving the HR services the Faculty receives, and will involve a change in how faculty staff can access HR services.
You can find details about the changes to the structure of the HR service and key contact points (including for the newly-formed Recruitment Hub, Staff Hub and the Faculty’s Strategic Support team) on the Faculty of Medicine’s HR support information webpages.
As the transition progresses, both the HR teams and Medicine departments will be adapting to a new way of operating. While I’m confident that service levels should improve quickly following the implementation of this change, we will need your feedback to understand how well it is working. We’ll monitor the HR service provided closely, and will address emerging issues as quickly as possible. To help us continuously improve the service we offer, you can provide feedback on your experience to Claudia Menichetti (for the Staff Hub), Jason Chambers (for the Recruitment Hub) or myself.