Professor of Molecular Pharmacology Director of COMPARE The University of Nottingham
"I can see career paths being changed with people in technology roles"
I've always been in G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) since my time in Cambridge, and I've been here nearly 40 years. My drive was to create a research group that had fun doing what we're interested in doing and recruiting high-quality people.
The University is now acknowledging that it's not just who's the first author and who's the last author, if you're a technologist you will be expected to be in the middle of most authors, most papers. You need to ensure you are in the middle of the papers where you will have contributed because that is how they will begin to judge that route to promotion.
So the real benefit for me from my position of this is that we have a collegiate nature about COMPARE across two universities which are 30-40 miles apart. That took some doing, and I think that the reason that they're emboldened to do that is that Jeanette has thought carefully through what's in it for them if they do take this path. Our University, in particular, has taken to it and they are listening which is good. So I can see career paths being changed with people in technology roles, in microscopy roles, in a way that wouldn't have happened two or three years ago.
We need to invest in people more. People are not just metrics, you are relying on people to come with their wacky ideas and you need a bit of funding to allow them to test those wacky ideas because out of that might come anything and if you look back at the major decisions in history - you would never have funded those ideas at the outset.
Rate in importance - Funding / Publication / Technology
We will be judged ultimately on publications, but you can only hit the publications you want to achieve if you have the technology and the people to deliver it. Therefore that doesn't come unless you've got funding in place first. So in a way, this is a bit of a circle, your publications are the basis on which your track record is determined, and that is the red or green light for whether you can raise funding or not, whether you then turn that funding and technology into better papers.