Little improvements

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When I started this blog my intention was to make it a research showcase and present all of the latest developments from the lab. Depressingly research is taking a bit of a backseat at the moment, largely due to my involvement in other things and so I have no exciting new information to share or publications to announce (although in theory there could be 7 new papers in the offing shortly).

Those who know me well will know that the last few months have been “trying” for various reasons both within and beyond my control. However, I am now firmly back in “the zone” and hellbent on world domination (or in my more modest moments, just doing my job to the best of my ability). One of the things that has for a long time contributed to a general draining of my enthusiasm is the fact that I occupy one of the crappiest offices in what is undoubtedly the crappiest building in the University (it was tempting to say Universe, but that might have been stretching the point). North Laboratory, as it is inspiringly entitled is one of the older buildings on the Sutton Bonington Campus and, sadly, as the rest of the campus has been regenerated and developed, has been left untouched. Whilst our labs are well-equipped and teaching areas have been kept up to date and very much fit for purpose, the staff of North Lab have to live with windows that don’t function properly, inadequate toilet provision, horrific extremes of temperature and a leaky roof.

Within this poor sick building surrounded by glowing excellence and innovative architecture, I occupy the glory of room 57. 57, like many of the offices is a conversion from laboratory space, with a lab area being subdivided into several smaller rooms. Like the other conversions 57 benefits from some of the “special features” of North Lab. There is no sound-proofing incorporated into the stud walls, making even the act of breathing audible to my neighbours. In fact, the wall between 57a and 57 does not actually go all the way across the room and a finger can be comfortably inserted into the gap between the rooms.

Well, anyway, I digress. Like all of the University facilities North Lab is wonderful and it is my own poor use of the space that causes my problems. Privacy is over-rated and possibly counterproductive (open plan offices are the norm for many university departments elsewhere). So as part of my fresh start and more positive approach to life, I have had a bit of a break from REF to rearrange my office. A big shift of the furniture means that I no longer overlook the ladies lavs all day and I can actually stay hidden around a corner so that undesirables won’t spot me. I now have a handsomely large meeting area and even a houseplant to keep me company.

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Next on my list will be a sofa, drinks cabinet, maybe a small fridge and a massage table I think.

As some famous bod once said, research is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Well, in my current role the focus is all on that 1% bit. I have other people to do the perspiring for me these days. Inspiration requires an inspirational environment and inspiration people. I count myself fortunate to have known many of the latter and to have a great network of collaborators and colleagues. Having worked in other places I can place my hand on heart and say that SB is a great environment. There is very little that we want but can’t have here- research facilities are superb. It would just put the icing on the cake though if I could have quiet space to think without boiling in the summer and shivering in the winter.

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