Inside Working Lives

Making a Life

Philip Gilmartin explains why he chose UEA for a key career move at senior level, and how he's fallen in love with the local area.

Philip Gilmartin

Dean of Science

Joined UEA in 2011 Originally from Leeds, United Kingdom

UEA has a strong reputation, it's relatively young and it's going places.

What do you do at UEA?

I'm Dean of Science with strategic responsibility for leading a faculty of six schools: biological sciences, environmental sciences, chemistry, pharmacy, mathematics and computing. I'm also a professor of plant molecular genetics.

How did you get here?

After senior roles in Leeds and Durham balancing university leadership with research and teaching I joined UEA in 2011, stepping up to a very senior role while continuing my research and teaching. I think it's important to engage with students and I was drawn to the strength of research here. The recruitment process was professional, I was treated as an individual and made to feel very welcome - exactly what you want at a senior level.

Why UEA?

It has a strong reputation and it's going places. My role gives me opportunities to lead a strong faculty and develop deeper interactions with the related institutions such as the John Innes Centre, the Sainsbury Laboratory, and the Genome Analysis Centre. We have real strength in computing and mathematics that links to biology in the form of bioinformatics, a growth area where we have the opportunity to become pre-eminent. I was attracted by the School of Environmental Science's international reputation and the fact that all our schools rate very highly for student experience with the School of Pharmacy ranking number one for student satisfaction amongst UK pharmacy schools.

How's life outside work?

I'd visited UEA a few times but didn't really know Norwich or Norfolk. Having settled in, I think it's fantastic – a great campus in a great location. I moved here with my wife, who started a new role at the University of Cambridge, and our three dogs and we live just outside Thetford surrounded by farmland and forest. It's been really exciting to move somewhere new and different and we love it here. We worried UEA was isolated but soon saw travel is no problem. I love the outdoors and Norfolk's wide open spaces and big skies, and I've never lived anywhere where you can see so many stars.

What about the future?

I saw I could make a difference in the university and on the national stage of university leadership, which benefits the university and creates opportunities for me. My tenure is five years and this will be a tough act to follow, but I am full of ambition which is why I came to UEA at this stage in my career.

What would you say to someone thinking about coming here?

If you're considering a move to UEA at whatever career level come and explore the opportunities – you can only fully appreciate them once you're here.

Whatever kind of life you want, you can find it in Norfolk

If you're based in the centre or suburbs of Norwich, you can reach UEA on foot, by bicycle or on public transport in minutes. Or choose a home in the Norfolk countryside and escape to a peaceful rural retreat every night. The average price of a property in Norfolk is under £190,000, compared to over £280,000 in south-east England.

Norwich is well connected with the rest of the UK and Europe. By rail, the city is less than two hours from London and about one hour from Cambridge. Norwich International Airport offers regular flights to UK and European cities and to Schipol (Amsterdam), which provides onward connections to destinations worldwide. The recently completed Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, on the west side of the city, offers a comprehensive healthcare service to local residents.

Norfolk has the lowest crime rate in England.