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Kerry Kirwan - Memories

“Everyone’s ability to pull together has meant we and our partners have come through whatever is thrown – very often emerging stronger and better placed than before.”

Professor Kerry Kirwan - Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research), University of Warwick

Kerry Kirwan - Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research), University of Warwick

How long have you worked at WMG?

Employed for 18 years, but with another 4.5 beforehand as an EngD student and then another 3 years before that as an undergraduate project student. So about 25 years involvement in one way or another.

What is your earliest memory?

A very young Simon Fox and myself beating our heads on a very old and very complicated Instron tensile machine that required you to programme a console in very specific order to make it work. One wrong keypress and you had to start all over again. Needless to say I didn’t produce a lot of results in that project…

Why do you choose to work for WMG?

Very hard to give one or two reasons! I grew up within the department and it gave me lots of opportunities. It’s also the people, the history, the variation in work, the opportunity to travel and meet new people and the fact it is never dull – where else would you be able to make a green F3 racing car as part of the day job? There are lots of other things too, but you get the gist.

Are you proud of WMG’s 40-year history and what does this mean to you?

Absolutely – over the years there have been some dark days in both WMG and the companies we work with but the level of resilience and everyone’s ability to pull together has meant we and our partners have come through whatever is thrown – very often emerging stronger and better placed than before. It has to be said that the good days have very much outweighed the bad.

What do you think the future holds for WMG and how do you see yourself supporting that?

I think we will need to continue our role in supporting the region (and the UK in general) in both education and research – our knowledge and capabilities have probably never been so important than now with Covid wreaking havoc and Brexit yet to impact us. I hope that I can continue to support the effort through my activities both within, and outside of, the department.

How would you describe WMG in 30 words or less?

Different – probably indescribable to be honest.

What’s the best thing about WMG?

The people and the general ‘can do’ nature of the place. I know lots of academics and advisors around the world and we do have a reputation for challenging the accepted norms and actually delivering on those challenges.

How has WMG grown and changed throughout your time here?

It’s a lot bigger – we used to just be ATC (which is the EIC now), half of IMC (because the other half didn’t exist) and EMB. Now of course we span a huge number of buildings and locations - some of which I’ve not managed to get around to visit even yet.