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Jonathan Elliott

Prof-Jonathan-Elliott.jpgCareer progression
1. Studied Veterinary Medicine 

2. Internship 

3. PhD

4. Clinical training post

5. Lecturership

6. Vice Principal for Research and Innovation

Jonathan is the Vice Principal for Research and Innnovation and Professor of Veterinary Pharmacology at the Royal Veterinary College

What is your career pathway to date (including your education)?

I studied Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge taking Pharmacology as my part 2 of the Tripos (equivalent to intercalating elsewhere). After qualifying as a vet and undertaking an internship for a year in the USA to consolidate my clinical training I returned to the Department of Pharmacology in Cambridge to do a PhD in vascular pharmacology. I taught clinical vet students during my PhD taking seminars in therapeutics and when I completed my PhD took another 9 months clinical training post at Cambridge Vet School before being appointed to a lectureship in Veterinary Pharmacology at the RVC.  Here for 14 years I taught vets and did applied vascular pharmacology research until I entered a senior management role taking the lead of the research mission for the RVC.  This I have done for the last 16 years whilst continuing to have a research group and undertake a much reduced teaching load.

What do you do? What does a typical week look like to you?

Currently we are preparing for the Research Excellence Framework which is my main focus.  I am liaising with academics over the selection of their best papers for inclusion, work with our professional service staff on gathering evidence to support our impact case studies. I am refining the text of our Environment Template to make sure it is as strong as possible.

We have recently been awarded funds from UKRI to administer to assist grant holders whose grants have been affected by Covid-19 and I have set up a Governance Committee and overseen the writing of a Governance Plan for that process.  I chair a group that is overseeing the return of researchers to our labs and we are refining our processes so more people can come in lab and animal work (I am the College’s Establishment Licence Holder).

I oversee the grant application process for the College, reading grants academics have written and providing feedback.  I line manage the Head of RVC Business and work with him to ensure the commercial activity the College supports is viable and returns a suitable contribution to College Finances.

As Chair of Safety Committee, I have also been involved in the College’s preparations for return of students for the next term and how we make our Campus safe.  Finally, from the management role I chair two groups working on capital projects on research initiatives that we have obtained funding from for our Local Enterprise Partnership that will support our infrastructure for research over the next 10 to 20 years.

The remainder of my time involves supervising PhD students and preparing teaching (which will be on line in the first term of next academic year).  My research group works on chronic kidney disease in cats and the associated problems of hypertension and bone mineral disturbance.

What do you like and dislike the most about your current position?

I really enjoy

  1. helping early career researchers to get started in their independent research careers
  2. Bringing groups of researchers together to respond to particular grant calls
  3. Seeing results that have sparked the enthusiasm of my PhD students for research
I dislike
  1. Unnecessary bureaucracy associated with government University funding
  2. Having to turn away good ideas due to lack of funding

How do you see your career further progressing in the future?

When I step down from my senior management job, I will return to teaching (which I really enjoyed) and spend more time catching up on the developments in a broad area of pharmacology, which I have not been able to do because with the demands of the management role.

What three pieces of advice would you give someone keen on developing a career in your area of work?

  1. Make sure you practice as a vet initially to gain some experience of what that is like – if you go into academia or industry then this experience and knowledge will be really useful to you
  2. Find an institution that has good support processes for early career academics/researchers and gives you the opportunity to get started in research and is able to connect you to people in industry who you can work with
  3. Develop links to the veterinary pharmaceutical industry to help you get applied research funded – making those links helps you to develop both your research and teaching and to stay up to date with new developments coming through for veterinary medicine

Published: 17 Aug 2020 in Academic and NHS

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