Paul Appleton

Senior Research Associate
University of Dundee

"I think interactions with facility users is the most important part of what I do"

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Career Path

How do you turn these roles into a profession that you can promote that you can make attractive to the right people? How can you persuade people that it's an important role? If you promote it as a profession, it makes it something that's important, that's a necessity and a requirement.

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It would be great to have some recognition of the fact that you have a group of people who are important and you recognise the fact that actually, they do play an important role in the research community. You value them and not only do you need to keep them, but you also need to be able to progress them through their careers because unless you can stay in that career, you can't acquire the experience and knowledge that you need.

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You can put the fancy expensive equipment in a facility, but it's not going to help unless you've got the people there that can use it and show people how to use it.

Your dexterous manual skills are so important, and you can't just pick those up in a couple of months. So you need continuity of staff and you need to keep them because you simply can't advertise for someone with that level of skill and expect to get them very easily because they're in short supply.

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Team Science

I think interactions with facility users is the most important part of what I do. You have a range of people with different abilities that you need to deal with. Whether it's giving them advice, training them, maybe doing some quite complex technical experiments with them. You have to be able to communicate on a personal basis with individuals at that range of different abilities. Going from the very simple basic stuff to some quite technical, difficult experiments with people from a range of different nationalities might pose some language problems so you have to be inventive about how you can explain things to people and make sure that they understand.

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