Women in Science
Building spin-off companies and collaborating with industry
Video clip: Hazel has found there is less stability in industry than there was, which means she must ensure she maintains relationships to keep the collaborations working.
So certainly, when I was first appointed I did spend quite a lot of time going round talking to other academics but also companies in the field. Did quite a lot of travelling particularly around the UK to try and get those contacts and get things going. What's changed over the years, over the twenty or so years is that I was at the tail end of having a big polymer industry in the UK.
You know, you had the likes of ICI and BP and all that… so in a sense if you developed a relationship with one of those companies you could do a lot of research with them. Whereas now the sectors are very much diversified and a lot of the research is being done in relatively small companies or companies that are changing, changing hands quite a lot and so it's very much a case of keeping and renewing contacts and so forth and keeping up. You know, one company that I was involved with that sponsored a PhD programme and then a couple of years of postdoctoral work as well, over that period I think the company changed hands four times.
But we, we managed to sort of keep the theme going through, but it means that there is less stability it seems to me, at least in my field in terms of, you know, managing those kinds of interactions, yeah.
That strikes me as a something that might take a lot of energy to, having to renew your - find the next person who's coming in…
It does. Yes it does and it's also a question of being able to travel and interact with those kind of things and to try and keep the contacts even if it isn't the right time for, you know, a particular interaction. So as an example, recently I was at a conference. Met up with somebody I'd worked with ten years previously and I said, “Well, you know, let's just sit down at lunch and whatever….” and something came up and they've ended up funding some research because the cycle had come round and back again.