I was originally a biochemist, but am pretty technically broad. I joined the DfT Office for Science in October 2017 as the Science and Innovation Strategy Lead after 14 years working in Home Office as a security technologist, trying to detect the Holy Trinity of guns, drugs and bombs.
My role is very varied and ranges from understanding technologies to be able to brief ministers and seniors; drawing together communities to reach common ground on tech related issues, including academia, policy makers and DfT ALBs; funding SME innovation and overseeing a programme of work with the Connected Places Catapult. I’ve also picked up a specialism in hydrogen as a key technology area for DfT.
My impact comes from supporting the development of new technology solutions and supporting the department to make the right strategic decisions around technology issues. For hydrogen, I convene a meeting of leaders across the Department to ensure that what we do is well aligned to what BEIS is doing – linking production and demand.
The best thing about DfT is the ethos, which I suspect reflects the Department’s missions. DfT is about building things and enabling people’s lives and the ethos is very “can-do” and positive. People are nice and responsive – there is a clear sense of service and people all want to both do their best and support others to deliver theirs.
The DfT Office for Science is a number of things wrapped into one. As a small team with lots of contacts we do lots of networking – linking decision makers to the right evidence or experts. Sometimes we also act as a technology strategy unit. This means that the pace can be quite frantic when there is lots on at the same time. The intensity is good though and keeps us all motivated and moving quickly.
When I first joined I found the role very challenging, but the team helped me through it and I feel I have been tempered by the fire, rather than burnt!