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Dr Anja Roeding

Co-Director of the Centre for Metamaterial Research and Innovation; Programme Manager of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM2); Co-Lead of the EPSRC UK Metamaterials Network

Email:

Telephone: 01392 724132

Extension: (Streatham) 4132

There are two things in life I am truly passionate about: research and cycling. What do they have in common? Both require a good balance of endurance and sprint skills, commitment and will power to succeed.

I enjoy learning as much as teaching, thrive on variety and the opportunity to question existing systems and procedures to drive improvements. I am committed to fostering an environment where research can progress, where bonds are created to enable innovation across subjects, where resources are used responsibly, and where people can apply their individual strengths to ensure a better and more sustainable tomorrow.

Exeter's Centre for Metamaterial Research and Innovation

As Co-Director of the Centre for Metamaterial Research and Innovation (CMRI) I am responsible for our operations management and external relationships, as well as for the management of our £12m EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM²). XM2 equips our ~60 Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) across Physics and Engineering with the experiences, skill and mind sets to become young professionals who exploit their potential as responsible future leaders in  in academia, industry, governmental agencies and beyond.

To deliver successfully against the Centre’s aims, my administrative team (Deb Lee, Kelyn Luther) and I am working closely with the CMRI Director Prof Alastair P Hibbins and Co-Director Prof C David Wright, and around 40 academic supervisors plus the PGRs and postdocs in our Centre, as well as with our external academic, industrial, and governmental partners.

As a team, we ensure the progress and development of Exeter's breadth and strength in metamaterials research, from Acoustics to Optical, THz and Infrared Plasmonics and Photonics, from Graphene to Nanocomposites, from Magnetics and Microwaves to Quantum Metamaterials and Wave Theory.

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The UK's EPSRC Metamaterials Network

Together with Prof Alastair P Hibbins, I am co-leading the 3-year EPSRC UK Metamaterials Network (EP/V002198/1; official start delayed from 1 Sep 2020 to 1 March 2021 due to Covid19).

The intervention that this Network will provide will ensure that the UK does not lag our international competitors. Via the Network’s Special Interest Groups, Forums, National Symposia and other community-strengthening strategies, the enhanced collaboration will help resolve key interdisciplinary challenges and foster the required talent pipeline across academia and industry.

My main responsibilities are the building of the scientific community across HEIs, industry, and governmental agencies, and driving the development of strategically important documents such as metamaterials roadmaps, white papers, statements of need, etc, in order to position metamaterials at the heat of future funding and exploitation opportunities across the TRL.

In addition, I am leading the network's Outreach and Education forum together with Dr Raphael Assier (Applied Maths, Manchester). Our aim is to ensure a widespread communication of metamaterials science and applications to non-expert audiences as well as providing in-depth training material to enable the upskilling of network members from academia and industry. 

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The UK's Professional Research Investment and Strategy Managers network

As a personal side project, I am also leading the UK's Professional Research Investment and Strategy Managers (PRISM) network.

PRISMs are managers of large research, training, and network grants, research centres or institutes in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). As integral part of research teams, PRISMs are experts in scientific community building, external profile raising, efficient delivery of research awards, and, ultimately, in building the future of the investments they manage.

They have operational and strategic responsibilities, and drive the growth of their research ecosystems in tandem with the academic lead(s). They enable the development of high-quality research outputs and impact.

According to latest community statistics (72 responses, October 2020), 

  • > 70 % of PRISMs have a postgraduate degree (incl ~50 % at PhD level),
  • > 85 % of PRISMs have more than 7 years of work experience (incl 50 % with 11-20 years!),
  • ~ 90 % of PRISMs are women.

However, PRISMs are often employed post-award on fixed-term contracts (70 %), which leads to negative impact on the exploitation of the award potential, and leaves highly educated and experienced experts in a position of constant job insecurity.

Founded in April 2020, and with now well over 120 members across more than 40 institutions, the PRISM network pursues two main aims:

  1. To bring the widely dispersed PRISM community across the UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) together.
  2. To engage with UKRI and HEIs on a cultural shift for research teams in HEIs, which includes better recognition and progression pathways for PRISM roles.

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My guiding principle? “I can. I will. End of story.”

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Qualifications

  • NCEF Award in Counselling Skills and Theory (Exeter College, 2020)
  • Change Management Foundation (APMG International, 2019)
  • APM Project Management Qualifications (Association for Project Management, 2018)
  • PhD in Biosciences (Goethe University Frankfurt, 2013)

 

A very brief history of my life prior to moving into the world of metamaterials in 2017

  • Nov 2015 - Feb 2017:  Project manager for events, policies, and College initiatives (EMPS, University of Exeter, UK)
  • Aug 2015 - Oct 2015:  Workload planning administrator (EMPS, University of Exeter, UK)
  • May 2014 - May 2015: Travels in New Zealand, Australia, and South-East Asia
  • Aug 2013 - Apr 2014:  Research funding assistant, LOEWE (Ministry of Science and Art, Wiesbaden, Germany)
  • Nov 2008 - Jul 2013:   Biosciences PhD (Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Apr 2008 - Oct 2008:  Travels in Europe
  • Sep 2003 - Mar 2008: Studies of microbiology, biochemistry and genetics (Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Sep 2002 - Aug 2003: Studies of sociology, political and media sciences (Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf); incl. internship in the German Parliament's press department (Berlin, Germany)
  • Sep 2001 - Aug 2002: Voluntary social year in a home for disabled people (German Red Cross, Moenchengladbach, Germany)
  • Jul 2001: A-levels in history, German, maths, and music (Sophiengymnasium Colditz, Germany)

Some of the topics I enjoy contemplating and debating

  • Models of human societies, e.g.
    • universal basic income;
    • car-free cities;
    • integrated communities from birth to death and tribe-building within them;
    • What impact could a mandatory national or international social/ecological/armed forces year for all school leavers have on society?
  • Education and growth, e.g.
    • School systems – what values, skills and experiences do we need in the society we’d like to live in, and how can we foster those best from an early age?
    • Go and see the world – should travelling be part of the education system?
    • Teacher training: From school to university and right back into school – is there more to becoming a good teacher?
    • School’s out – PhD students vs PhD researchers: how about a system where we foster professional growth and development of junior research staff, rather than a culture of 20+ year old adult-students?
    • Life-long learning through failure and barriers – how much of a challenge do we need for personal and professional growth, and when is it too much?

(Drop me a line if you’d like a chat.)

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>> Follow me on LinkedIn.

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