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Women in Science

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Video clip: Maggie explains that as head of college it is important to be part of the academic culture. She has tried to continue her research as well as all her other duties.      


So what happened after York? Did you come to Oxford?

I did. I came to be President of St. John’s College.

And that’s quite a different career.

Well not really. I still, I mean when I was elected it, the fellows made it clear that they wanted an academic and they have been very supportive of my research. So I brought my Wellcome Trust grant here. It has just come to an end. But I’m actively working with the postdocs in disseminating the work. My collaborator, who is also my husband is at UCL now, and he and I have three grants looking at interventions for children with language impairments. He leads those grants but I’m very much involved.

So it is a different career but it’s a different job and it’s mainly a different job because there’s so much to do in the evenings actually. But I think as Head of a College it’s really important to be part of the academic culture. So I’ve tried to continue my research. It’s not always possible in term. But the long vacation is quite a long time and as a, you know, a regular academic, you teach, you do administration and you do research. I don’t have to teach here. So, and again if you use your time effectively, I think you can get a lot done.

I think that the, the only aspect of being a Head of House that’s difficult to combine with an academic career is the, the sort of hospitality parts of it, and these sort of evening things, which ultimately make you quite tired. But equally, you know, it, you can, what coming to Oxford has done for my research is made me much, think much more about the interdisciplinary aspects of it and that’s something that is born from the College community culture, and I think it’s a very positive thing. So since I’ve been here I’ve had one new grant which is from the Department for International Development, which picks up on the Newton Fellowship which one of my postdocs held and we, we’re looking at in educational attainments in developing countries.