I moved to Stirling from a research fellowship at Birmingham University, previously teaching geography (my first degree subject) and physical education for two years.
Prior to that I undertook a PhD on sediment transport in regulated rivers. My research interest lies in river science and I undertake knowledge transfer activity via a Centre for River Restoration Science (CRRESS). A colleague and I were awarded ‘enterprise’ funding in 2005 to start the centre.
Until 2005 I was Chairman of the Board Directors of the UK River Restoration Centre that promotes river restoration in the UK and provides advice; I still sit on the Board. I am also on the editorial board of the journal River Research and Application and was elected onto the UK’s Natural Environmental Research Council peer review college.
CRRESS assists engineers with designing restoration schemes, monitoring environmental and ecological performance of projects and assessing the causes of river erosion and deposition problems. Alongside this work I have a number of research students working on projects linked to my river research interest. The most rewarding and enjoyable part of my work is passing on this pure and applied research to our postgraduate Environmental Management and River Basin Management students using current real-world case studies and field excursions. Another thrill is walking into the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and a host of other organisations and bumping in to ex-students; having been at Stirling now for 16 years, this happens all the time and indeed some of the students are now in senior positions and have funded and overseen research contracts that I have worked on. It is great to know I have made a difference to these students’ careers but worrying to wonder if they are earning more than me!
Coming to Stirling to work in 2001 was a bit like a ‘home-coming’, as I had spent six enjoyable years at Stirling as a student, at undergraduate (Sociology and Social Policy) and postgraduate level (MSc in Applied Social Research). Between times at Stirling I worked at Bradford Dementia Group, University of Bradford, first in a research capacity and then as a lecturer.
I spent some time using Dementia Care Mapping for research purposes as well as developing the training courses and co-facilitating courses in the UK and US. I also completed my PhD while at Bradford, initially under the supervision of the late Professor Tom Kitwood and then Professor Colin Bell who was the Vice-Chancellor at Bradford while I worked there. My PhD work explored the process of changing the culture of dementia care in three care settings. I initially returned to Stirling as a research fellow working on a range of projects, for example exploring dementia provision in rural Scotland and how to elicit service users’ views, before taking up the post of Senior Lecturer and Programme Director for the Dementia Studies course when it went ‘online’ in September 2003. The last three years have involved much development work of the programme as well as delivering the course to students from a range of practice and disciplinary backgrounds – which has been a great experience!