Meet the Team: Alan Campbell

In this week’s blog we meet Alan Campbell, Research Integrity Manager in the Research Support Office. Read on to find out about Alan’s recently appointed role, what led him to the University and recent work on export control.

What led you to work at the University?

I did my MBA at Strathclyde Business School in 2014/15 and following graduation, was self-employed as a strategy consultant.  I worked on some really interesting projects for clients in the corporate, academic and charitable sectors, however the allure of a steady, monthly salary pulled me back to the world of nine-to-five and I joined the RSO Contracts Team in September 2016.  Working for the University as a Contracts Manager enabled me to use my previous experience as a lawyer while at the same time opening my eyes to the world of Higher Education and academic research.  It’s a fascinating sector, and the University offers a huge variety of opportunities for career development – I think it’s great that in moving to my new role in Research Integrity with a very different focus from my last one, I’ve been able to stick with the same team and the same employer.

How long have you been at the University?

I first came to the University of Edinburgh as a student – I did my law degree here between 1993 and 1997 and then my Diploma in Legal Practice in 1998/99.  I joined the staff as a Contracts Manager in September 2016 and then switched to my current role as Research Integrity Manager on 1st May this year.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Variety – my job is like running a whole series of concurrent projects, some very large and complex, others small and self-contained.  Networking is really important and there are lots of opportunities to discuss burning issues with colleagues across the University and with counterparts elsewhere.  I spend a lot more time organising my diary than I used to but I love the fact that no two days are the same!

Ask me about…

Policy in Research Integrity, or in other words, the principles, ideas and behaviours that make up good research practice.   Specifically, I can help in drawing up a new University policy, advise on the policy implications of a change in the law or a funder’s terms and conditions, and find out how our competitor Universities approach the same policy challenges we face.  You can find more information about how Research Integrity fits into the life of the University by visiting the RSO Research Integrity webpages, or alternatively my blog post on the topic.

What are you working on just now?

Export Control, particularly where it relates to dual-use technologies, is an area whose profile has been rising over recent months.  The concern for the University in this area is the risk that technologies developed here with an ostensibly peaceful purpose could fall into the wrong hands abroad and be adapted for military or terrorist purposes.  The UK government, in common with the US and many others imposes a licensing regime to control what types of technologies can be exported and to whom and as a University, we need to make sure that we have the systems in place to ensure that none of our researchers export technology (or use technology coming here from other countries) in circumstances that break the rules.

I have been attending regular meetings of a LERU working group looking at a new draft EU Regulation on workplace compliance with Export Control laws, which is timely, as the University’s Export Control Working Group – of which I am a member – has also just finished work on a new University-wide Export Control and Sanctions policy.  The new policy, which is expected to be launched during late Summer/Autumn 2019 will result in a series of new responsibilities falling to RSO and so one of the main projects currently in my in-tray is to produce a protocol describing how we in RSO should organise our compliance with the policy when it comes into force.

Proudest moment at work?

Negotiating and concluding the Institutional Agreement setting up the HDR UK Scotland virtual institute for CMVM in August 2018.  It was a daunting and really complex piece of work, but it was a great feeling to sign off and to have co-ordinated an Edinburgh team that was praised by the funder for our pragmatic approach to the contracts.

What’s your favourite type of cake?

As a child of the 70s, what else but Black Forest Gateau!!!

What do you like doing when you are not being a Research Integrity Manager?

I enjoy travelling, reading (mainly biography and historical non-fiction) and walks in the country (especially the Borders, the Fife Coast and Perthshire).

Favourite thing to do in Edinburgh?

Either a warm Summer’s evening spent in the Cumberland Beer Garden or watching the sunset from Calton Hill…

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