Following more than 25 years focusing on my own research in research-intensive universities, in 2009 I switched to hold a series of senior management and leadership roles in the post-’92 sector. Here I had responsibility for leading research and knowledge mobilisation across a school, faculty or university.
In these roles, I became familiar with research across a broad range of subject areas. These included human and physical geography, biological sciences, nursing, chemistry, philosophy, sports science, psychology, criminology, sociology, engineering, and many more.
I also had responsibility for engaging with various users of research. These included private industry, the NHS, museums, local councils, care homes, charitable organisations, and networks and bodies that represented employers in various sectors.
Around 2009, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) introduced a new component (research impact) into the periodic national research assessment exercise called the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Research impact is all about the difference university research makes to the economy and various areas of society. From 2010, I was leading on Research Impact for my school or faculty, from 2014 for my university and in 2017 for the University Alliance (a group of around 20 universities focused on the skills, knowledge and expertise needs of the economy and society).
My experience of leading Research Impact has provided me with great insight into the challenges academic staff face in translating their research to benefits in society. In particular, I have focused on strategic approaches to define and engage with the audiences and users of academic research.
In 2017 I left academia to set up Jenny Ames Consulting. Since then, I have worked with researchers from an even more diverse range of subject areas including the performing arts, education, physics, computer science, English and history.
I launched the coaching section of my business in 2019, after gaining the Postgraduate Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring Practice from Oxford Brookes University and Membership of the Association for Coaching (MAC). My decision to focus my coaching practice on people in career transition and university researchers reflects my own career. I was an active university researcher for about 25 years after completing my PhD. I have been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Lecturer, Reader, Professor, Director of Research, Associate Dean (Research and Innovation) and Assistant Pro Vice Chancellor (Research). I have worked at seven universities across the UK over a 35-year career and I was a Visiting Professor at an American university for six years. Since 2019, I have gained considerable experience coaching and mentoring researchers from different universities and also delivering personal development workshops.
I live in Reading and work across the UK. I still count needlework and baking among my hobbies, but these have become overshadowed by gardening, including for wildlife. I am a member and treasurer of the Berkshire Group of the Hard Plant Society. I am also a member of the Tate and particularly enjoy modern art.