Professor of Nanomaterials Characterisation University of Leeds
"Trying to push the boundaries of what the physical scientists can do"
Tell me a little bit about how their career structures are set up for your facility staff?
One recent development here in Leeds is a University technical college that has just started up. I'm hoping there are going to be some people coming out of that who quite fancy a career in imaging science.
What's your contribution to defining the technology and the strategic direction?
I feel part of what I've tried to do is to get the community to come together to fund very specialised National Facility Centres and SuperSTEM is one of these. So we're trying to look at how we can extend techniques. Not only imaging but also analytical techniques. To measure composition and chemistry into those soft systems which are beam sensitive and difficult to prepare. We've got a lot to learn from the biologists, as well as trying to push the boundaries of what the physical scientists can do.
I think we need to talk more and we're trying to do that now. For many years we had a side by side relationship with the biological microscopy unit at Leeds. However, I think that's now developing into a much more symbiotic relationship. We learn a lot about them, about some preparation cryo techniques. They're learning a lot more from us about analytical methods for chemical composition determination - so talking is a big thing. Maybe secondments between the two would help.
Rate in importance - Funding / Publication / Technology
I think [first] probably technology. You don't always need the finance to get the technology if you've got clever technology. Finance is good, but I think publication comes slightly ahead of it because with thinking about results and thinking about what they mean you can probably get a better publication than you would do just using a very expensive piece of equipment blind.