Prof. Philip Brown
1. What is your position within the School?
I’m Director of the Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy, Director of the Sustainable Housing & Urban Studies Unit and Professor of Social Change.
2. How long have you worked in the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences, University of Salford?
I’ve been in the School for around 18 months now but I’ve just completed by 11th year at the University having previously worked in the School of Environment and Life Sciences and the College of Science and Technology.
3. Which building are you based in?
The Allerton Building.
4. Why did you choose to work within the School?
The School is one of the most successful places for research in the entire University. We have been the highest grossing research income generator and we have the best hit rate in terms of turning research bids into successful awards. The School has a really compelling story about the impact colleagues can make on the positive outcomes for people and society in terms of wellbeing. Both of these things are really important to me for providing the right conditions for us to spend our time undertaking and disseminating research that could change peoples’ lives for the better.
5. What is your most memorable moment of being in the School?
That’s a really difficult one. The beauty of the work we do is rarely is there a day which repeats itself so new memories are being made all the time. It is really nice to see influential people discovering the University and the work in the School for the first time and taking that message back. As an example, we were fortunate to host David Orr who is Head of the National Housing Federation at an event last year which celebrated the achievements of some of our alumni. It was David’s first time visiting Salford and he was really impressed with the way we were approaching the interface between housing, health and social care. He’s returned twice since that first visit.
6.What is your biggest dream?
Personally running a sub 4 hour marathon would be nice. In terms of work I’d like to see the University at the table more regularly when international advances are being made in terms of knowledge generation around wellbeing and equality.
7. When you are not at work what do you do to relax?
I like to run, read, travel and devour box sets. We also have a small campervan called Wilf and we like to take it far and wide to watch the sun rise and set whenever we get a chance.
8. What was your first job?
Other than a paperround when I was 13. I worked in a packaging factory in Leeds for longer than I care to remember in order to afford to live my (very modest) undergraduate lifestyle. As a result I now cannot stand vanilla scented candles. This was followed by other illustrious positions as a delivery driver, bar staff, waiter, and strawberry picker.
9. What has been your greatest achievement?
Getting to a point in my life where I have been able to work side by side with people I used to only know through reading their work.
10. What would make your job easier?
I think we need to trust people more. Too many decisions retreat back to the centre of the University and this can stifle creativity, innovation and responsiveness. If we can get a little more local control – with accountability – I think this would spark new forms of collaboration and new ideas. This is where I see a real role for the ICZ initiative.
11. Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to students/colleagues?
Have a plan. Time flies so it’s really important to know what it is that you want to do with the time you have. As academics we remain privileged we are paid to read, express our views, find out about things that are interesting to us and debate with students and peers. If you know what it is that you enjoy or want to achieve or both, try and work out how you incorporate this into your academic work. But remember to enjoy your non-working time as well.