As I found out, running a university research office can be a lonely experience.
There are many factors to think about, particularly if you’re from out with the sector.
Research funding and impact are too important now to be dumped in the ‘corporate services and administration’ basket. And the landscape is getting more complex as the geography around research funding continues to change.
You’ll be working with some senior managers who know much more than you about research funding and who are apparently ‘wired into’ the politics surrounding it, but you’ll also be working with senior staff who will be reliant on you for many of the answers. So what should you know, and how much can you deliver?
A critical friend doesn’t necessarily have all the solutions but they know about your operating environment and they are good at asking questions, at nudging you out of your comfort zone from time to time, making you think differently, and yes, gently cajoling you along, helping to show you what you can do, rather than what you think you can’t.
And, most importantly, they are there as a friend, where all conversations are confidential and where no question is a stupid one.
A critical friend doesn’t make the decisions. You do. Decisions appropriate to your institution, delivering actual benefit, where you get the credit. But we help you get to that point, and we help you follow through on them.
Hamish Macandrew Consulting can supply a critical friend at a frequency that suits you – intensively at first, if you like, followed by a half-day or day per month, or per quarter, for as long as is useful – your choice. Face to face is best but we can use phone or skype if this is more preferable for you.