Dr Dan Ridley-Ellis is Head of the Centre for Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University. Here he shares a bit about himself and his career in research.
What is your research area?
Wood properties – specifically those relevant to construction with timber. My work, within a team of colleagues from different fields and organisations, aims to quantify the range of wood properties within the forests of the British Isles, and understand how they are influenced by site, climate and forest management.
What attracted you to a fellowship at Edinburgh Napier University?
I was interested in working in an area that was being strongly supported by industry. I was also keen to work in a field that had a positive environmental impact and the potential to transfer knowledge and research into the real world.
What has your experience been like to date?
My research career has been somewhat unusual, since I've been lucky enough to work in an area with sustained funding and a need to build specialist expertise in senior research staff. While my experience has been good and bad, on balance I’m glad I chose to work in this area. I’m particularly happy to have been able to work with, and learn from, colleagues from a number of different fields and backgrounds – and in a wider team that has been able to carve out a definite niche for Edinburgh Napier in timber related research.
What opportunities / development have you had at Edinburgh Napier University?
I’d say most of my development has been a combination of on-the-job learning and learning from collaborators. I've also done a few things related to public engagement and science communication which I think has improved my research and knowledge transfer work.
What is it like being based in Edinburgh?
Edinburgh is a lovely city to live and work in. I’d never been to Edinburgh prior to my interview, but it felt like home immediately.
What advice would you have for other research fellows?
Find yourself an area of work that you can get fascinated and passionate about. Tough times and hard work is inevitable in academia but it certainly helps if it's work you want to do. Also, put the effort in to telling people about the work (and not just in academic journals).