60 seconds with Ben Dean
Ben joined us in January 2019 as the new Executive Officer (Operations).
In this interview he talks about his background, what his role involves and tells us about his cricket obsession.
Welcome to Oncology, Ben! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Firstly, thank you for the warm welcome to those I've met since starting! It's great to join such a friendly, vibrant Department. I join you from a 5 year term in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, where I managed various strategic projects, as well managing the grants team. Before that, I spent time in Toronto working for a not-for-profit organisation that secured stipendiary funding for students to undertake placement projects. I also spent 4 years in London working as the general manager at a music management company, where I had the chance to travel around the world as tour manager. The variety afforded by these opportunities has given me a rich level of experience in an array of administrative and strategic functions which sets me up well for the Executive Officer (Operations) position.
The role of Executive Officer (Operations) is new in the Department, what does it involve?
The role of Executive Officer (Operations) will carry on much of the work that the former Operations Manager, Claire Shingler, undertook. This includes the development of key strategic projects across the Department including our Athena SWAN Silver renewal application in 2020, as well as the management of the Department's research contracts. I will also manage the Oncology Executive Committee (OEC), and will help implement the actions decided at this meeting. However, a new part of the work I will undertake is for the administrative, financial and organisational management of the Department's Scientific Research Facilities (SRFs, formerly known as Core Facilities). It is so crucial to make sure the Department is doing all it can to foster opportunities for world-leading research, and the SRFs are instrumental in making that happen in our Department. I am looking forward to connecting the SRFs and promoting them to the University and beyond so that the expertise they offer can be seen by all.
Why did you choose this career path?
I feel it was less the notion of me choosing this path, but more the understanding that I got the most out of my work when I could find ways of working with people for a common purpose. Over the last few years, I have found work that gives me an opportunity to be involved in multiple areas of administration, and enjoying this is something that has driven me to learn as much as I can from my colleagues and other members of the University. Ultimately, I get immense satisfaction from knowing I am helping the world by helping the research that is carried out in Oxford.
When you're not at work, what keeps you busy?
I do like to get away with my wife Jennifer and explore parts of the world we haven't seen before. However, I do admit that this is not financially sustainable! So, I spend most of the rest of my time cycling, reading and going to the gym. However, all of this is trumped by cricket! If I'm not playing it (which is twice a week from May to September), I'm watching it at the ground or on the box. I'm thinking of starting an Oncology team – keep your eyes peeled for details in the newsletter...!