The unique combination of mechanical, aerospace, and civil engineering disciplines in our School exposes academics and students to a variety of engineering approaches to problem-solving.
I study human relations and social interactions in engineering project organisations. I am particularly fascinated by how people think about their practices at work, and the connections and contradictions between what people think they do and what they actually do at the workplace.
A lot of my research is not only based on talking to practitioners, but also observing their practices in real-life situations. I have studied how people use their skills and knowledge at work, and how they make decisions about various organisational issues, including the topical issue of sustainability.
I regularly organise research seminars in my field; these allow me to travel to different places, meet very interesting people (many of whom remain close acquaintances), and share good food and conversations. The aspects of research I most enjoy are meeting new people and seeing new practices that challenge my thinking, along with the relative freedom to read and write about these developments.
I keep my teaching up-to-date and relevant for students by listening to their main social concerns, and try as much as possible to get them to think differently about life. I certainly feel a sense of gratification when my students eventually 'get it'. When they graduate, I hope they remember me by the stories that I tell them during my lectures, but they are more likely to remember me for answering their questions with yet more questions!
I think a measure of success for students who complete their course is when they take what they have learnt here at Manchester and do something useful for society, beyond just making money.