Inside Working Lives


Fiona Lettice explains how she combined a positive career move with family priorities when she moved to UEA from Cranfield University.

Fiona Lettice

Professor of Innovation Management

Joined UEA in 2005 Originally from Cranfield, UK

Norfolk is a really good place to bring up children

What do you do at UEA?

In 2012 I was promoted to Professor and I'm also Deputy Associate Dean for Research for the Faculty. In these roles I will take on more leadership responsibilities, mentor new lecturers and focus on building a stronger research culture. My research interests are the way companies develop products and services, how they manage the process, how they develop sustainable innovations and how they respond to disruptive changes.

How did you get here?

Previously I was at Cranfield University and before that I was working in industry as a project manager. My brother was taken ill which made me re-evaluate my priorities and I realised I wanted to be closer to my parents in Norwich and give my one year old son the chance to know them better. Fortunately the ideal role came up within the Norwich Business School at UEA. I'd visited my parents but didn't know the area well. It's more remote here but with a young family that is less important – Norfolk is a really good place to bring up children.

Why UEA?

I was aware of UEA's reputation in environmental sciences and creative writing but not much beyond that. When I came for interview I liked the fact that the Business School had ambitions to grow and since then the school has roughly tripled in size. The School and University promote and encourage interdisciplinarity and my research and teaching interests fit well as innovation is an interdisciplinary topic. Forming links with colleagues in other disciplines has been relatively easy and has helped my research. The UEA Nursery on campus was an important factor – it's progressive, with great facilities and fees can be deducted from your salary before tax. I think UEA has a family-oriented culture – people work hard but they also leave work at a sensible time.

How's life outside work?

Norfolk is a really good place to bring up children. There's a lot to do, with parks, coastline and other attractions like cinemas, theatres and museums. Norwich is very safe and accessible, my son has settled in well and we have made lots of new friends. I swapped a two-bedroomed house in Bedfordshire for a four-bedroomed house south of Norwich for the same price. My drive to work takes around 15 minutes – in Cranfield, I'd wait that long in a queue to cross the M1!

What would you say to someone thinking about coming here?

It's been a positive move, professionally and personally. UEA's given me the chance to take on new roles, develop my skills and achieve promotion. It's a nice, lively campus and, in terms of the Business School, I have been able to be a part of the growth and help shape what we're doing.

Norfolk is an ideal place to raise a family.

Property prices are low in comparison to the rest of the UK, and rental properties are plentiful. Housing in Norwich offers a wide range of architectural periods and styles, from Victorian terraces to 1930s semi-detached properties and modern city-centre flats. Norfolk has a total of 416 state schools, along with several independent private schools.

There are many attractive parks and open spaces within easy reach, including Eaton Park, Mousehold Heath, Heigham Park, Waterloo Park and more.

The coast, the Norfolk Broads and many other tourist areas are easily accessible by road, bus or rail, allowing families to enjoy fantastic days out or longer holidays without the hassle of long journeys.

Norwich city centre offers a wealth of opportunities for enjoyable and educational activities at venues such as the Forum, the Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Dragon Hall, Theatre Royal, Cinema City, Norwich Cathedral and many more.