Inside Working Lives


Val Lattimer explains how taking a step into the unknown was made easier by UEA's commitment to research and welcoming culture.

Val Lattimer

Head of Nursing Sciences

Joined UEA in 2010 Originally from Southampton, United Kingdom

The campus is a very green environment, and a lovely place to work

What do you do at UEA?

I have two roles: for 60% of the time I'm Dean of Nursing Sciences, a leadership role, and for the remaining 40 % I'm professor of health services which involves both teaching and research. My research focuses on emergency and urgent care, particularly in ways to make services more effective, accessible and responsive.

How did you get here?

My early career was in clinical nursing and nursing education and in my 30s I did my PhD and a Medical Research Council post-doctoral fellowship. Before I came here I was at Southampton University, most recently as Director of Research in the School of Health Sciences. A recruitment agency invited me to apply for my role at UEA and when the call came I realised I was ready to think about my next career step. I didn't know a lot about UEA but I knew the Executive Dean of Medicine and Health Sciences and it was helpful to have that link, to visit the campus, meet the team and understand the fantastic opportunities that are here.

Why UEA?

My work integrates leadership and both sides of my experience, providing health professional programmes strongly underpinned by research. UEA is a highly collaborative environment with all the building blocks for excellent health research, and the links with the NHS and social care providers are very strong. The campus is a very green environment and a lovely place to work. It's very accessible and it feels like UEA is here for the community with a strong relationship between city and university. I've thoroughly enjoyed my first two years and was fortunate to join such a positive, welcoming and happy school.

How's life outside work?

I'd never been to Norfolk but I knew Norwich was a lovely city and a little about the coast and the Broads. We're great walkers and we've had great fun exploring the coastal paths. We've rented a farm cottage in a very quiet rural location about 15 minutes from the University. It's remarkable how you can get from the heart of Norwich to UEA and out to the country in such a short time. My husband is in the process of relocating here – he's worked in the public sector with transferable skills so we knew it would be relatively easy.

What would you say to someone thinking about coming here?

When I was talking about my move I was given two great pieces of advice. One was that stepping into the unknown can be energising and the other was to trust your own judgement. Come and see it for yourself!

Committed to research

If you want to take your academic career in new and exciting directions, UEA is the perfect place to do it.

We pride ourselves on the cultural, academic and financial support we provide for research. Our ethos is open and flexible – we strongly encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, and new ideas are always welcomed.

In the Research Excellent Framework 2014, UEA was 10th in the UK for the quality of its research output (Times Higher REF 2014 Analysis) with 82% of our research rated as ‘world-leading' or internationally excellent. Research at UEA is an important foundation for our teaching, and many new ideas and developments are integrated into our 300 student courses.

We are part of Norwich Research Park, which also includes the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and four independent research centres: the John Innes Centre, the Institute of Food Research, the Sainsbury Laboratory and The Genome Analysis Centre – plus over 30 science- and IT-based companies.

Norwich has the fourth most highly cited scientists by sector in the UK, after London, Cambridge and Oxford.