Changing Academic Life

Changing Academic Life

What can we do, individually and collectively, to change academic life to be more sustainable, collaborative and effective? This podcast series offers long-form conversations with academics and thought leaders who share stories and insights, as well as bite-size musings on specific topics drawing on literature and personal experience. For more information go to Also see to leave a comment. This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis: Chartable -


April 10, 2024 67 mins

Liam Bannon is a Professor Emeritus and founder and director of the Interaction Design Centre at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

Liam has been a hugely influential thinker writer and researcher since the 1980s, along with various collaborators, in shaping work around technology and design.   

Recorded in-person in 2017, he reflects on his interdisciplinary journey and contributions, covering areas such as A...

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Jean Paul is a senior scientist at the Medical University of Innsbruck. In part 2 of our conversation, Jean discusses her experience leading an impact-led transcdisciplinary research project focused on supporting families with mental health issues. She highlights the challenges of stakeholder engagement, distributed team management, and transdisciplinary research. Jean emphasizes the importance of community engagement, virtual team...

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Jean Paul is a Senior Scientist at the Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria. Jean discusses her involvement in a unique research funding process called a sandpit or an ideas factory. Having then taken on the leadership of the project, she provides insights into the challenges and benefits of transdisciplinary research, stakeholder engagement, and arguing for their impact-focused approach. Jean also shares her a...

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This episode is an edited extract from a ‘Beyond Phrenology’ podcast episode where Dr Madhur Mangalam chatted with me about the impacts of research funding challenges on academic culture and individual well-being. The conversation addresses the need for a shift towards more supportive and diverse cultures, the complexities of academic career paths, and the importance of leadership, mentorship and job crafting. We also discuss the i...

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February 8, 2024 19 mins

Taking this time to celebrate CAL100 – the 100th episode for the Changing Academic Life podcast series (actually 109th episode if we count the nine related work episodes) and thanks to all the people who have been part of making it happen.

To update and correct the information about Dr Paddy Barrett who inspired this podcast:

His original podcast was called 'The Doctor Paradox'. He is a preventive cardiologist not an anaestheti...

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Triggered by a comment from Katta Spiel in an earlier podcast, in this solo episode I explore the tensions between the autonomy and freedom we have to shape our research identities and do meaningful work, and the systemic constraints from funding and promotion opportunities. The tensions particularly arise when research interests don’t align well with institutional expectations or funding trends. I explore various ways to navigate ...

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Dr Katta Spiel is an Assistant Professor at TU Wien, a recent ERC Starting Grant recipient, and a good colleague of mine. In part two of our conversation, Katta discusses being neurodivergent, and experiences with ADHD, and being an activist for change with an example of how gender is dealt with in research, and about 'epistemic plurality and the importance of making space for different ways of being and knowing.&nbs...

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December 22, 2023 13 mins

In this short episode I reflect on the podcast season so far and on my own year of transitions. And I offer some prompt questions to help us reflect on what we have achieved and learnt this past year and encourage us to take some time to savour and celebrate it.


00:05 Introduction

01:32 Podcast highlights

05:50 Transitioning to a new phase

7:35 Reflection prompts

10:17 Gratitude & looking forward

13:26 End

This podc...
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Dr Katta Spiel is an Assistant Professor at TU Wien, a recent ERC Starting Grant recipient, and a good colleague of mine. 

In the first part of this two-part conversation Katta shares their experiences on a range of topics like career uncertainty, rejection of proposals, coming out as queer, having a formal gender change, dealing with chronic health issues, and being successful in receiving a prestigious research council grant....

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November 29, 2023 5 mins

There were some technical hiccups in Part 2 of my conversation with Irina Shklovski, making the original audio I released very choppy (a lesson in not relying on smart tools!). I’ve uploaded new audio version that is much easier to listen to and doesn't chop off words. So this is an encouragement to you to listen to this now as it is such an important raw honest conversation and Irina shares so many useful ideas about coming back ...

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November 22, 2023 20 mins

In this short episode I pick on the notion of self-compassion from the discussion with Mark Reed last week, and go back to Kristin Neff’s work and other related self-compassion researcher to unpack the three components of self-compassion and some practices for cultivating self-compassion and also point to some of the research evidence base for the benefits of self-compassion. I also share my own experience in needing to a...

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November 15, 2023 52 mins

Professor Mark Reed is an academic, author, podcaster, consultant, trainer, policy advisor among his many roles. His research area is on ecosystem markets and environmental governance, and he studies how researchers can generate and share their knowledge so they can change the world. Reflecting both of these strands, he is both an academic, co-directing a research Centre at Scotland’s Rural Colleg...

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November 8, 2023 7 mins

In this very short 7mins episode, I talk about choosing to go to the park instead of doing a longer episode as I had planned - making good enough choices and honouring other areas of my life.

I also point to related older podcasts that talked about issues around burnout, obsessive vs harmonious passion, self care, planning:

Jolanta Burke on burnout, harmonious passion, positive workplaces & helping others (from 2017)

Anna Cox on f...

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Professor Irina Shklovski, University of Copenhagen, continues her powerful story about her academic burn-out experiences, returning to work and learning the dance of how to be enough and do enough. She discusses the push-and-pull between professional expectations and personal health, the value of reflection and self-awareness, how to establish work boundaries, and the crucial role of support from colleagues. We also...

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October 25, 2023 45 mins

Professor Irina Shklovski, University of Copenhagen, has a powerful story to tell about her burn-out experiences.  In Part 1 she talks about how she got there, having an amazingly supportive department and colleagues, and how her body tells her when to stop. Implicated in this are issues such as being across two departments, defining her scholarship, starting a new uni during COVID, the downside of getting grants and...

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In this short solo episode, I reflect back on recent conversations around academic mobility, discuss some benefits, and also point to an EU initiative to improve support for mobility across sectors, countries and disciplines. I also discuss some of the costs and issues around mobility, and in particular pensions, something we don’t often think about. In sharing my experiences with a complicated pension situation because of my inter...

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Professor Susanne Bødker is a professor of Human Computer Interaction at Aarhus University in Denmark. She reflects on 40 years at Aarhus University (AU) touching on issues including mobility, changes over time, hiring practices, creating collegial culture, being active in university politics, transitioning to retirement, being a single parent, among many others. You’ll hear a strongly held set of values around participation a...

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Following the conversation with Dr Karen Stroobants on the EU CoARA agreement, I discuss some other top-down initiatives at international and national levels for reforming research assessment. I also share some of my own bottom-up experiences trying to put these principles to work eg in writing references and being part of evaluation panels. It is also my hope that these actions can also have some middle-out influence.

Overview [41:...

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September 21, 2023 8 mins

In this short episode I reflect on my recurring life lesson about putting unrealistic pressures on myself, in this case to put out a full podcast this week. Especially when the platforms I am using are a work in progress. And accepting that I am also a work in progress. What are your recurring life lessons?

Transcript [08:03 mins]

[00:00:29] Geri: Do you ever have any of those life lessons where it seems like the universe ne...

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We need to reform research evaluation because "It's not just which people are we excluding, which profiles are we excluding, which ideas are we excluding, but also whose problems are we not solving" says Dr Karen Stroobants.

Karen is a researcher, policy adviser and consultant on research policy and strategy, with a focus on research culture. Her research background and PhD is in chemistry. She now manages a portfolio...

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