We arrived in Scotland, as planned, in September and have spent the last month settling in to our new surroundings.
My first few weeks as a lecturer have been hectic. I still don’t have any computer equipment at work, which is making accomplishing anything substantial a tough task. An unexpected complication of my lack of computing facilities was the knock on effect it had on my ability to engage in the bureaucracy and form-filling that I knew would take up much of my time. These tasks are rendered even more complicated without a printer, and resulted in me having to pay the local public library a visit in order to use their facilities.
Amidst all my frustration at not being able to hit the ground running, I know I am very lucky. I have landed a permanent position at one of the most uncertain times for British Universities. Talk in the corridors is of the 80% cuts to teaching, significant cuts to research and abolition of capped tuition fees that are expected in tomorrow’s Comprehensive Spending Review. The coalition government is extricating itself from the higher education system and this will have inevitable ramifications; in the form of university closures and privatisations.
I am lucky and I have to hope that I am also lucky when it comes to getting grants. Research councils will have their budgets slashed and there will be huge demand for what little funding they can make available. fMRI research certainly isn’t cheap, and if I am going to carry on with it here, as my job title ‘Lecturer in Neuroimaging’ would suggest I should, I am going to have to secure external funding pretty soon.
Tomorrow will be tough in anticipation of the lean years ahead. Nevertheless I certainly won’t be the hardest hit by the cuts, and for that I am thankful.