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Ottoline Leyser (UKRI)

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About this episode

#15 — Along with becoming a Dame, Ottoline Leyser also recently became Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a UK body dedicated to building a thriving, inclusive research and innovation system. In this informal discussion, Ottoline explains what the UKRI does and shows us just why she’s a perfect fit.

Discussing her career move, we find out if she has any regrets about leaving the lab and how monthly sanity checks help her juggle the full-time responsibilities of heading the UKRI with managing her research lab.

She also touches on more personal matters, including how her late husband was critical to her career success and why her children made her a better scientist.

Follow Peter O’Toole, Ottoline Leyser, UKRI CEO & UKRI on Twitter! Browse all The Microscopists episodes here.

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Please note that this is a Machine Transcription and may not be 100% accurate.

Intro/Outro (00:02):
Welcome to The Microscopists, a Bitesize Bio podcast hosted by Peter O’Toole sponsored by Zeiss Microscopy today on The Microscopists.

Peter O’Toole (00:17):
This week on The Microscopists, I talk to Dame Ottoline Leyser where we discover how she balances her full-time job, running UK Research and Innovation, while still having a research lab.

Ottoline Leyser (00:30):
I have a kind of sanity check, Ottoline insanity check lab meeting once a month with everybody so I can keep up.

Peter O’Toole (00:37):
Where does she regret leaving the lab?

Ottoline Leyser (00:41):
Yeah, it’s just such a joy research, which is, you know, it’s what draws you in and keeps you there. And it’s, it’s really exciting. And so to step away from that is quite a wrench.

Peter O’Toole (00:53):
The dark side of academia.

Ottoline Leyser (00:56):
I mean, research is terrifying. You have absolutely no idea what you’re going to find out

Peter O’Toole (01:01):
And the difficulties of the pandemic for researchers

Ottoline Leyser (01:05):
Early career researchers have a lot of stress and anxiety.

Peter O’Toole (01:12):
I just have to ask her, what is it that she misses most about York?

Ottoline Leyser (01:15):
I also miss Betty’s fat rascals.

Peter O’Toole (01:19):
All in this episode of The Microscopists.

Peter O’Toole (01:28):
Hi I’m Peter O’Toole and today on The Microscopists i’m joined by Ottoline Leyser, or should I say Dame Leyser now?

Ottoline Leyser (01:36):
No, no, don’t say that

Peter O’Toole (01:39):
Honestly. It’s been ages since I’ve seen you. Actually, the first thing I noticed you’ve grown your hair.

Ottoline Leyser (01:44):
I have going in my head. This is, this is an exciting lockdown experiment. That was forced upon me by, in, in ability to access a hairdresser. But I’m quite enjoying it.

Peter O’Toole (01:55):
You didn’t trust any of your family to cut your hair then?

Ottoline Leyser (01:58):
I, I, I’ve mostly been by myself in lockdown, so I haven’t had that choice.

Peter O’Toole (02:04):
Yeah. I’ve been fortunate. I’ve got a son that will cut my hair. So I, after a bit of teaching, but he’s actually pretty good.

Ottoline Leyser (02:11):
I, I have all kinds of family ties of being well tested by these kinds of lockdown experiences.

Peter O’Toole (02:19):
Yeah. So actually a lot has happened since you were at York with ourselves not only to become Dame Leyser, but you also became chief executive of UKRI, which is a huge position. So I guess some listeners and viewers won’t know what UKRI is and what a chief executive does. In fact, I don’t know what the chief executive does, but sit at home by the looks of it. So go on overview that just to give a feel. Yeah.

Ottoline Leyser (02:51):
So UKRI is UK Research and Innovation. That’s what it stands for. And it is a relatively new organization it’s coming up to three years old now that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils and innovate UK, which is the UK Innovation Agency and Research England, which is an organization that funds the block grants into UK. What to English universities worked very closely in collaboration with the equivalence in the devolved administrations. And so what UKRI does is bring together all of that, which collectively represents about 60% of the public sector spend on research and innovation under one organization. And it was formed as a result of the recommendations of a review that was led by Sir Paul Nurse. That argued that in bringing together all of these organizations, one would have a much better opportunity to tackle all kinds of quite important issues facing research innovation, one being interdisciplinarity and how you really get the most out of working together right across all of those disciplines and also all of those research sectors. So the public and private sector and third sector also, and the other being how you build a really strong interface between research innovation system and government where both it’s important to have that interface. So that government is keen on funding, research and innovation, but also research innovation has an awful lot to offer to support policymaking on both policy for science and science for policy where science is broad sense.

Peter O’Toole (04:33):
I think you said that before, that seemed very well rehearsed,

Ottoline Leyser (04:36):
But I have been doing this job for just over six months and I’ve been doing an awful lot of introductory type meetings. And one of the first questions always is,

Peter O’Toole (04:49):
Well, it is. I mean, it’s interesting, it’s this interdisciplinary now. I see, I just, I really struggled with that word interdisciplinarity across the scientists. Actually a lot of people on the previous chats that I’ve been talking to, actually some of them are physicists, chemists, biologists, and actually have almost, some of them are completely disciplined, hopped and change and use those skills and they’re all really highly successful. So there’s a lot to be said for that ability to, to hop across. There’s got to be a fairly big channel challenge when you’ve got the independent groups still working of how to actually get them to talk more or to see be more fluid in their funding and their vision.

Ottoline Leyser (05:32):
That’s an interesting question in that, I mean, interdisciplinarity is, as you say, quite fundamental in research these days, an awful lot of the really interesting questions are disciplinary boundaries or where there are really core questions to very defined disciplines. You nonetheless need all kinds of expertise from other disciplines to help you address them. So at some level, you know, I came to my thinking about a lot of these things through my life as a developmental biologist before I took this job on. And certainly for, for many years, I’ve been working with computational models because developmental biology is a kind of quintessential multi-scale feedback ladened system. And to understand it at all, you, you have to have formal modeling. So I’ve been working in that way for a long time. And indeed immediately before taking this job, I was working in Institute in University of Cambridge, which was explicitly about bringing those skills from physical sciences, into developmental biology.

Ottoline Leyser (06:39):
So it it’s something that’s happening all over the place. And, you know, you’re a microscopist, microscopy has always been very much on, on the boundaries of, of all of the sciences. You need that kind of in a different sort of way you, because you’re addressing questions in a variety of different, different disciplines, but you’re also having to build kit that through physics delivers your ability to interact with those systems in ways that you can then make sense of. So lots of very exciting questions in, in interdisciplinarity of that sort. And then there’s the kind of flip side to it, which is where you’ve got some big societal problem like aging or something. And it’s really obvious if you’re going to do anything about that. You have to bring together people from all kinds of different directions and UKRI is exciting cause it makes it much easier to do both of those kinds of interdisciplinarity. It makes it easier for somebody who is really driven by some question that straightforwardly within a discipline to access funding that might be from a different research council, for example. So you could writing those collaborative grants with people from different disciplines and principles is easier when the there’s better interactions between the councils, but also it’s been impossible to put in place. These kind of challenge led programs where you can kind of draw in the expertise from across all of that, that there’s different disciplines to, to face particular questions.

Peter O’Toole (08:11):
So you mentioned there that you, you are assuming you are still Director of Sainsbury Laboratories or not anymore.

Ottoline Leyser (08:19):
I th this, this job is pretty much a full-time job. I do still have a research group in the Sainsbury lab, and I they’re being very patient with me in, in my amount of time, I have to, to interact with them, but I’m very pleased still to have that contact with the science.

Peter O’Toole (08:35):
So how, how, how do you actually balance that? Because as you say, it’s an all-consuming job, it’s a new UKRI is new. So it needs probably even more of effort. It’s not just like moving the ship. You’ve got to actually, not just, you’ve got to develop the ship, you’ve got to build around it. How do you actually balance and how did your lab group think about that? How much do you get spend with them? Are they getting enough of your time? They’re going to listen to this. So you’ve got to give the right answer.

Ottoline Leyser (09:02):
Yeah. I obviously try to put in place some wider interactions for them. The Sainsbury lab is incredibly collaborative environment. So colleagues very happy to step in and get involved with the projects that were ongoing in my group. And I have I have a kind of sanity check, Ottoline sanity check lab meeting once a month with everybody so I can keep up. And then I, I yeah, talk to them either by email or zoom or whatever as, and when, but it’s, it’s I, I, it’s a transition essentially. I mean, this, as I say, that running UKRI is, is more than a full-time job.

Peter O’Toole (09:53):
I, I, it’s probably too early to ask if you regret moving out of the lab and to be more full on with the, I mean, I think it’d be very unfair question to ask if it wasn’t the right step. Yeah.

Ottoline Leyser (10:07):
So you know, of course I regret moving out to the lab and I will, I think I will you know, I, who knows what the future holds and, and this is, I’m doing this job for five years and maybe after that, I shall go fully back into the lab. But I think most people who came in to research it’s just such a joy research, which is, you know, it’s what draws you in and keeps you there. And it’s, it’s really exciting. And so to step away from that is quite a wrench in, in a whole variety of ways. But I suppose what happens progressively is you? Well, certainly for me, I’ve felt that gradually I could make more of a contribution by stepping away from the bench gradually to doing the various other things I’ve done over the years.

Ottoline Leyser (11:02):
So I was director of this Institute in Cambridge and really enjoying working with all the wonderful people there to try to make the kind of environment where I think the best research happens, because it’s because it’s about the people and it’s about the research. It’s not about, you know, ticking delivery boxes or trying to get your paper published in a particular journal. It’s about the questions you’re trying to answer. And it’s about the challenge of doing that and the, the excitement of working with people who think about things differently and bringing your ideas together. It, yeah, this is all, all kinds of, of really fantastic about research and how you do it in a really joyful way. And that, that’s what I think that’s what, that’s how I think it should be. And that’s how I think the most exciting discoveries get made. And I’m really keen to try to create a research and innovation system where that creativity, that kind of engagement is, is so central to it that we really can make some progress, understand the world, make things better for people, all that stuff.

Peter O’Toole (12:26):
So on that very note, one of the things you’ve championed is equality and diversity in the workplace. And, and that’s not just gender or race, but it’s equality across the workforce. I think the infrastructure and appreciates that be infrastructure. And actually I can thank you. I certainly didn’t have the classic academic job at York. I remember going from my first BBSRC grants for a piece of equipment, for which you encourage me to lead on that. And actually you were a fantastic support to myself. I, you might go to person, but I have my grants applications to sanity check and rewrite it completely because as you tell me it was rubbish, if it was and guide me very well in the right direction, but you supported a non classic academic to apply for grant funding directly. And that’s still, I don’t think is the case everywhere, even in the UK, certainly across the world, that is not the case in many countries. And I think the UK has been really fleet footed pragmatic and does allow it, but there’s still people in more technical associated roles that cannot apply for grants for equipment when they are the people who are going to be running it they’re the experts. So yeah, the technicians commitment hidden ref, if you got any thoughts or comments that I think you’d be good for people to hear, just, I think how UK should be working in this area.

Ottoline Leyser (13:54):
So you know, there are, there are a number of ways into, into answering that question. Or you started it in the context of diversity and inclusion. I, I think those two things are absolutely crucial in a successful research and innovation endeavor diversity, because you need a whole bunch of different ideas, different people with different backgrounds, different ways of thinking about things. They bring different stuff into the work environment, into the, in to the questions that you’re trying to answer and definitely different skills, different interests all of those things, if you can really bring all of those things together and, and work together in a way that’s properly engaged and really capturing the benefit of all of those differences. And then I think that’s how you get to make progress. And I think that absolutely includes all of the people that you to, to make the, make the thing work.

Ottoline Leyser (14:56):
And that absolutely is the high end equipment and the extraordinary skills that people like you bring in. But actually I definitely include you know, whether at York, Jenny giving tea and cookies and all of that kind of stuff, that’s brilliant. I mean, those people are just a crucial parts of the system. They, they, they, everybody is building an environment where it’s, it’s possible to step into the unknown. I mean, research is terrifying. You have absolutely no idea what you’re going to find out. It might be nothing. It might be the question that you’re kind of desperate to answer might be unanswerable. The thing you’ve invested years in, in, in as your kind of best hope to answer, it might just fail completely all of those things. And it’s quite frightening to, to go there. And so creating an environment where you go there with the people who are helping and supporting you to do it, I think is definitely the way to go.

Ottoline Leyser (16:01):
And it allows you to go to take more risks than you, you would have been able to take by yourself and it allows you to do it with people. And so it’s a, it’s a community experience, which I think is incredibly helpful and supportive through all the ups and downs and the successes and failures that that research brings. So I think it’s all part of, of a really important, and, you know, goal to create this kind of shared endeavor. And then that maps onto a much broader agenda, which has to do with trying to break down the barriers between research and innovation and the whole of the rest of society, because it does have this reputation of being a kind of thing done by boffins in shiny labs or, you know, dusty libraries or whatever. And that’s just not how it is. And being really sure to highlight the extra extraordinary contribution of everybody in the system, I think is one of the ways someone can help to, to shift the whole focus or the whole kind of concept concept of what research and innovation is so that everybody can feel that they can join it.

Ottoline Leyser (17:15):
And anyone who wants to contribute can contribute and everybody can benefit.

Peter O’Toole (17:19):
I guess that’s a modern way of thinking, but there’s still not so modern ways of thinking within it and actually getting the acknowledgements out there can still be a challenge, especially on the technical side. I think I’ve been spoiled. In York, I came from Essex, which was pretty good. I went to York, which I think is just outstanding in it, support and diversity, but that’s not, it’s not the case everywhere. So the more of these championed the better it will be and thinking of diversity. What about, as you said, we’re not just in a ivory towers, we’re not just boffins that are working there. So what do you do outside of work?

Ottoline Leyser (18:01):
What do I do outside of work? Gosh, I I, so I, I like to walk I long walks one of my favorite things with interesting people, even better

Peter O’Toole (18:16):
Or hiking.

Ottoline Leyser (18:19):
I walking, I mean, I’m very happy to walk 20 miles. I don’t know what the difference between walking and hiking is.

Peter O’Toole (18:26):
Well, actually, I guess it’s mostly on the flat if you’re mostly Cambridge based anyway, but opportunity

Ottoline Leyser (18:33):
To walk up Hills [inaudible],

Peter O’Toole (18:36):
Where are you based at the moment?

Ottoline Leyser (18:37):
I, so when I took the UKRI job, the head office for your UKRI is, is in London. And so I ha I have been renting a place on the South bank for the week and my plan was to commute up and down weekly. And I, I did that for a little bit. But then at various points I’ve been locked at one end of the other or the other of that, that commute. So it’s a little bit awkward, but yeah. So right now I’m in London.

Peter O’Toole (19:10):
How have you found being isolated from the family? Because obviously you need your support network just to, just to, I guess, just some normality. So how have you found, how have you coped with that?

Ottoline Leyser (19:21):
It’s not entirely straightforward. But it’s doable. I yeah, I mean without getting, I don’t know, maybe I’m maybe you want me to get too, too deep into my personal life. My my husband died six years ago now and I have two grown up children and my, actually at the beginning of lockdown, they were both in Cambridge and I was in Cambridge. So I saw a fair amount of them there, but anyhow in recently have a new relationship and he lives in London. So I he’s been around we’re in a bubble and so that’s helpful, but more generally, yeah, I think, you know, like everybody, this whole pandemic experience is really difficult. It’s just very hard for people in so many ways. So many of the things you, you build your life around are not, they’re destabilized uncertain.

Ottoline Leyser (20:31):
And I think, I think that’s trickiness, particularly when it’s tricky across all walks of life. But the research system, as I’ve said, is, is inherently uncertain, both in terms of what you’re doing as a researcher, but also the kind of career structure is very unstable early career researchers have a a lot of stress and anxiety. And I think this is very much amplified that to have all the normal stresses and anxieties of, of, of being a researcher. And then added on top of that, all the destabilizations of the pandemics been really hard for people.

Peter O’Toole (21:08):
So I, I just coming back to your husband, if you don’t mind just for a minute, cause I know you’ve actually given him a lot of credit for your career. Yeah. Tell me a lot of people won’t appreciate that side of it. And just, just add a, you would not be who you are today without him. I don’t think, I think that,

Ottoline Leyser (21:27):
You know, he was a wonderful man. We met as undergraduates on a field trip in Slapton and and we married straight out of undergraduate. And I was very fortunate to meet him, so seeing him my life and he was a freelance writer. And so he was a completely mobile and B worked from home. And from my point of view, that was fantastic because for if you’re following a research career again, you know, particularly I worked in plant developmental biology and it’s not a huge field. And so the, the places you would want to train the places you would want to work, all of those things are quite constrained. And so having the freedom to plot that course through my career, because he was so movable and flexible made things an awful lot easier than I know for a lot of people.

Ottoline Leyser (22:36):
It’s, it’s very common to, because researchers work so much in the lab at that stage in their lives for researchers to marry other researchers, and then you’re trying to juggle those two careers and it, and it’s, it’s complicated. So I, I was definitely very fortunate to have that extreme flexibility in my, in, in in Steven. And he, as I say, worked from home. And so when we had kids, he was also the kind of primary childcare provider, if you want to put it that way. And yeah, it, it worked wonderfully for all of us.

Peter O’Toole (23:14):
So on a moving from that is it still, do you think it still is difficult to develop a career if you also have to look after children or balance that things getting better?

Ottoline Leyser (23:29):
I well, so I mean, I’ve always, I always felt it was a huge help because I think, you know, my kids are wonderful and I, it’s so easy to get, so kind of deeply sucked into your work that you kind of never leave it and coming home from a day at work to the wonderful things that our children and all of the things they’re are interested in and all of the stuff you get up to being with them, it’s a, it’s a tremendous kind of it provides a kind of depth to your life. I think if you’re lucky enough to have kids that you just wouldn’t get otherwise. And I think, you know, being a mother maybe made me a better scientist and being a scientist made me a better mother. It just having those two passions together, I always felt it was very complimentary people. I always been very frustrated by the work-life balance expression because it implies that there’s your work over here and your life over here. And somehow there you know, there’s one of me and I’m having a life and it includes some science and it includes a whole bunch of other stuff too. And, and it’s who I am. And that’s important. I think,

Peter O’Toole (25:00):
So changing tack completely what has been the greatest challenge you’ve had in the work environment. And have you overcome that challenge? Goodness, that where you are now?

Ottoline Leyser (25:14):
Yeah, I guess so. I mean, at some level there it’s different challenges. There’s a whole range of different sorts of challenges and, and and so you know that,

Peter O’Toole (25:28):
Okay. Have you ever had a moment in your career where you thought good grief, I’m really struggling at this moment and is it for me? Is it not for me?

Ottoline Leyser (25:39):
I’ve had plenty of really struggling moments, but I guess I I respond to really struggling moments by why am I struggling? What’s working, what’s not working. How can I how can I get through this round this, over this, under this, whatever, whatever it takes. And, and it’s always been for me to, I guess. I’ve always felt quite fortunate in a way in having a reasonably clear idea about what I was actually trying to do. And I think if you’ve got that front and center, and even when you’re, you know, hitting walls, which you do all the time it’s easier to say to yourself, okay, you know, this is not working, but I, but I do still want this, the thing I’m trying to do, I still would like to try to do that. How can I achieve that through a different route, for example.

Ottoline Leyser (26:42):
And I, I that’s really that, that’s the thing that has always helped me through those difficult times, having having a idea of what I, what I’m trying to get out of it or what I’m trying to achieve. And some of that’s how plants grow, but some of that’s, yeah. How do I, how do I create the kind of environment where people are having a really fulfilling time doing research and innovation? That’s the kind of abiding question that I’ve had for a very long time and why I moved into this job was because I, I hope I can make a difference and, you know, support kind of go. And of course there are challenges, but if, if it wasn’t challenging, then, then someone would have fixed it already.

Peter O’Toole (27:44):
It should be boring, wouldn’t it about the challenges. So you’ve moved around quite a lot in your career as well. So you’ve been to Cambridge, you then went over to USA, I think, and then came back to York. That was a good decision by the way. And then, and then, and then back to Cambridge and left us cheers. And now working down in London. So I’m going to ask you what was better, best place to work USA or UK?

Ottoline Leyser (28:08):
Well, one of the things I’ve always said about moving around is you, you, you live in different places and different places have different advantages and disadvantages and good stuff and bad stuff. And, and there’s this really bizarre kind of human failing. I think that you’re, you, you always notice the things, but work better in the place that you’re not, you know, cause it’s it’s you, you, you you’re trying to do something. I mean, whatever, it might be your kind of trivial thing or big thing or whatever. And, and you know that in the place where you were before, it was really easy and now it’s a real pain. And so there’s a real danger of going around feeling endlessly dissatisfied because this that or the other will be work better than this. That’s what the other place I, you know, I’m, I view a lot of these things as, as, as they’re kind of mystic to you, if you want, you know, there are wonderful things about the US and there are wonderful things about the UK and most of them come with flip sides that are less good. And you, you, it is simply not possible to have all the wonderful things about the USA and all the wonderful things about UK in one place, because they’re two sides of the same, the same coin. And I think that’s, I think that’s an important thing to hold onto you. Otherwise you always just grumpy.

Peter O’Toole (29:30):
I can see why you’re I could see why you’re chief exec of yeah. You as a very political answer, sat on the fence perfectly. So, okay. So I’ll reword the next question, which you prefer York or Cambridge. I’m going to ask you, what do you miss about York?

Ottoline Leyser (29:47):
Ooh, what did I miss about your again, could answer that on all kinds of all kinds of levels of the department was I loved the department in York. I loved the university. I love the community you know, very much you know lots of these ideas I have about how you build that kind of creative, positive research environment. I, I think I learned in, in York and so all of those things, Cambridge as a University is much bigger and, and it works in a different way. And it’s and so you just, can’t be York, can’t be agile and, and, and easy, and the way that York is, but on the other hand, it’s like bigger and it’s got all kinds of, you know, huge range of different people with extraordinary diversity of, of opportunity, I guess, to form. Yeah. So it, you know, but so, so I miss this, the agility of the scale and the F the, the kind of humanity of the scale, of York. And then I also miss, you know, Betty’s fat Rascals. Isn’t the same though, is it?

Peter O’Toole (31:04):
So which one had the best microscopy suite by the way?

Ottoline Leyser (31:08):
Well, I am sorry.

Peter O’Toole (31:11):
Oh, you haven’t seen what we have now. That’s why

Ottoline Leyser (31:15):
That’s true. I’m not up to date, but the Sainsbury Lab had an astonishing microscopy suite, and you never asked me to come and run the microscopy suite.

Peter O’Toole (31:24):
You never came to ask me to run it. And anyway, so when you’re at home in the evening, what would you rather do read a book or watch TV if you get time

Ottoline Leyser (31:35):
To book

Peter O’Toole (31:36):
And what sorts of fact fiction?

Ottoline Leyser (31:39):
So for many years I read kind of rather the sort of golden era detective novels. I, there just relaxing, safe, entertaining all of those things, but I, I kind of got bored of those a few years ago. And I’m now sort of randomly hopping about between different things, depending on what takes my fancy I’m currently doing. Pharmaset more on short stories.

Peter O’Toole (32:09):
Okay. And if you were to, would you rather get a takeaway or cook at home?

Ottoline Leyser (32:16):
I’d rather cook. But I don’t get a huge amount of time to do that I’d rather eat I, you know, it’s another thing that was actually quite a big adjustment after, you know, the kids grew up and then fairly shortly after that my husband died and so went from, you know, family, family eating to me. And and so I used to do cook at weekends and then eat it in bits during the week that was quite successful. But now actually even that’s quite a challenge time-wise so I’m sort of, yeah, low effort cooking is what I do now.

Peter O’Toole (33:04):
I realize we’re nearly out of time. Your time is very precious. And thank you for taking it with us. I’d like to ask, what do you think is the next big steps in science that we’ll see

Ottoline Leyser (33:15):
The next big steps in science?

Peter O’Toole (33:21):
Very broad. Isn’t it? Sorry.

Ottoline Leyser (33:22):
I’m interested. I mean, one of the things I think is really interesting, so, you know, obviously Google deep mind just AlphaFolds, AI on protein folding. I’m interested in explainable AI. I’m interested in whether you can use AI to understand things better. So it just using AI to tell you how this protein folds it’s great major transformation, but I want to understand how things work, not just be able to predict or reproduce. And I’m, that becomes then very interesting because it’s not, I mean, that that’s, to me is the kind of next big thing in AI is being able to unpick what it’s done afterwards and then, and really use it to, to generate intuition as well as to generate answers, which of course is super powerful and really important. But I think the essence of science is about understanding, not just about prediction.

Peter O’Toole (34:30):
So that’s where we should all be building relations internally. It’s a big challenge. Isn’t it actually getting computer scientists, mathematicians to switch to biology, but we need more. We do. And that last one

Ottoline Leyser (34:49):
People to switch, we need switching to happen. I think that moving about between domains, between disciplines, between ideas is, is really something that I’m very keen that should be supported and incentivized and celebrated in the system.

Peter O’Toole (35:06):
So you’re a mathematician or computer scientist watching or listening. Think about going into biology because we need your help. I think that’s the message that’s quite clearly there is team effort and we need every discipline really. And by the way, I remember Jenny for my first day by interview day, very welcoming and still always welcoming, tearing my sandwich that days, which really good. Anyway, it is time. I’m afraid. I know that you have to go, it’s been a real pleasure Otterline we need to catch up properly.

Ottoline Leyser (35:40):
Yes, absolutely. I’m going to come to York. You’re going to buy me a fat rascal.

Peter O’Toole (35:45):
I will definitely do that. And I will show you now that we’ve got the best microscopy suite as well. Okay. Thanks for watching The Microscopists today. Thank you Otterline for joining us, don’t get subscribed and go back and actually see some of the other clips. Oh, I should say actually it was one bite with Alison North as well, who I believe was actually a peer with you at Cambridge junior undergraduate a long time ago. So I’ve got, yeah, Alison says hello by the way. So anyway, thank you everyone. And hope to see you soon. Bye.

Intro/Outro (36:16):
Thank you for listening to The Microscopists, a Bitesize Bio podcast, sponsored by Zeiss Microscopy to view all audio and video recordings from this series, please visit

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