We are now in that stage of the academic cycle where we wait with bated breath for the return of students to the university and express regret at how badly we have used the summer holiday period. Where are all the papers that we promised we would write? Where is the mass of new data, or the new research proposal? Why oh why did we relax quite so much?
For me, the usual September feelings are not quite the same as in other years and it is quite unsettling, in a pleasant way. Normally, being an organised kind of person I would be planning and updating all of my teaching for the full year ahead and trying to work out where the pockets of space might be to incorporate some research time. Not this year though, as I am the lucky recipient of some research leave and so the full year of teaching is actually a fairly light few weeks of teaching, leaving me the space to focus on my growing team of postgraduate students (at least 3 new people starting in the next month or so- maybe more…) and to do some research.
This makes September 2013 rather different for me- life but not as I know it. There is no panic brewing, no rapidly foreshortening perspective on things. The open plains of research opportunity are beckoning and I am starting to formulate some ideas on how I will use the time.
Some essentials first:
Writing up some of the data that we should be incorporating into publications, including some nice data on epigenetic changes following maternal over-nutrition in the suckling period, the findings of a service evaluation on weight gain in pregnancy, some intergenerational study data and the early work from the MAGIC study.
Then a task that needs doing but I have been putting off:
My book, Nutrition: A Lifespan Approach (available in all good bookshops!) is in need of a refresh and update, so I aim to get a second edition written by this time next year.
Add to the mix a bit of networking. I want to do some traveling to see people I collaborate with, plus a few that I would like to collaborate with. Talking has got to be on my list of priorities.
In addition there will be some funding applications to put together- but I can’t really say what they are. Walls have ears and competitors have no scruples, as they say.