The John Innes Centre’s Communication and Engagement team deal with media enquiries, issue press releases and public information notices. They were also crucial to the projects completion, aiding in liaising, marketing and exhibition text.
Head of Communications and Engagement
Felicity’s family relocated to Aldburgh, Norfolk, in the late 1970’s from Essex, when her father began an agronomist job in Halesworth.
After Felicity was born her mother decided to re-train as a teacher via Open University. Felicity explains that she has fond memories of her dad looking after her at various campsites near the universities where her mum did her Open University residential courses, they still have a family joke about making jelly without a fridge “after a mishap without one in a campsite somewhere in Wales”.
At school Felicity refused to read any of the “silly grading books” leaving her teachers doubting whether she could read, when in reality, she chose to read science books for fun. She admits to being that “annoying kid who knew all the answers” and loving physics and environmental science at high school. Although she chose not to study Physics at A level, partly due to the fact it was a male dominant subject and therefore “not for girls”.
Having changed her undergraduate degree midcourse, Felicity went on to complete her PhD in Leeds. Having recently taken up her position at the John Innes Centre, Felicity has moved back to Norfolk, where she resides with her parents and her 95 year old Grandfather.
In her free time Felicity loves to play sport, particularly Ultimate Frisbee and hockey. Up until a few years ago she would regularly spend all her free time and spare money on travelling to play Ultimate Frisbee abroad. Unfortunately, a number of injuries prevent her from playing as much now.
Communications and engagement administrator
Recently married Ed took a somewhat inadvertent path to his role at the John Innes Centre, having originally studied in forensic science at university Ed went on to complete teacher training before commencing his current position.
Born and raised in Stratford on Avon, Ed enjoyed school and recalls having had a good group of friends. Having always enjoyed science at school he chose to continue his study of biology into A levels to further his “prospects of a career in forensic science”.
Outside of work Ed’s main hobbies include mountaineering, Scouts and climbing, during which he enjoys the opportunity to work with young people.
Born into a large family and raised in Norwich, Olly spent his childhood growing up in a large Tudor farm house embellished with “wonky floorboards, low doorways, thick oak beams and a large garden”.
During his school years Olly admits to putting in as little effort as possible to get by, and was more often found up a tree in the garden than revising – “anything to avoid revision”. He reveals his favourite spot in the garden was his hammock, which was “30ft above the ground in a sycamore tree”.
Towards the end of his school years he developed a love of maths and biology, something he attributes to his time spent enjoying nature in the family garden. This led him to study biology further at university.
As a dedicated member of the Sea Scouts, Olly attended weekly for some 8 years. He states the yearly two week trips with the Scouts are among some of his most cherished childhood memories.
Olly is currently in two tennis leagues in Norwich and has a love of handicrafts mainly whittling, carpentry and metal work, although he declares he has little to no skill in any of them. He also considers himself a “coffee nerd” and finds pleasure in cooking and eating “good food”.
Digital Channel’s Specialist
A Norwich boy through and through Andy is a massive football fan, supporting his home team Norwich and a German second division side, St Pauli. He runs “AlongCameNorwich” which is a Norwich City fan site and has also written a book on the politics of football chanting titled “Who are ya? Who are ya? Who are we?”
Although Andy’s parents separated when he was 11 they managed to remain friends and successfully provide him with a “very solid and stable childhood”. Unlike many of his colleagues, Andy found no enjoyment in science at school and particularly disliked chemistry. Rather amusingly he describes his chemistry teacher as being akin to the Harry Potter character, Professor Snape.
Although he didn’t enjoy science at school, Andy claims he does have a “fascination with science and the creative problem solving within it”. Having completed an undergraduate degree in politics and media he decided against doing extra study to gain a PGCE, and so turned to a career in marketing.
However, he later realised he “hated marketing” but enjoyed web design and creating user friendly experiences. This led him to work on web design for the Norfolk County Council and later, for the John Innes Centre.
Andy lives with his wife Jo, who is currently training as a physician’s associate in the National Health Service, and their dog Arthur.
Outreach Curator and Science Historian
Sarah was born into a “West Country family” living in Bristol, but her family later relocated to Stevenage, an upheaval Sarah states she still hasn’t forgiven her parents for. Both Sarah’s parents studied science and were the first in their families to attend university.
Whilst attending the Stevenage Girls School Sarah loved her science lessons. She states that all of the teachers were “very good teachers” with the exception of her physics teacher, consequently she didn’t take her physics O level. She did however take chemistry at A level as a challenge but dropped biology as it was “dull”, “long essays on single cell protozoa spring to mind”.
Whilst studying for her undergraduate, and PhD, Sarah became hooked on the history of science. After a career in academia she joined the John Innes Centre as an outreach curator in 2007.
To counteract a week sitting behind a desk at work she enjoys gardening, bird watching and walking.
Another person we met along the way was Anne..
Research Assistant – Metabolic Biology
Anne attended a local school growing up and recalls being good at most subjects apart from physical education, although she was usually successful at finding the shorts cuts when undertaking the class cross country runs.
Owing to enthusiastic biology and chemistry teachers, Anne was always interested in science. “We did lots of dissections, my mother has never forgotten the time I left a rat in the fridge, and some quite unintentionally explosive experiments. Fortunately, there was little in the way of health and safety in those days and the only casualties were a few burnt ties and blazers”.
For the past 25 years Anne has dedicated every Sunday for 6 months of the year, to the conservation and management of a local ancient woodland. She states there is always something new for her to learn. She spends a lot of her time a midst nature, tracking barbastelle bats and going on woodland night walks. Where she has had the privilege to have witnessed “owls hunting for moths, foxes roaming, glowing insects and all sorts of nocturnal creatures that we are not normally privy to”.
Anne’s love of nature and the countryside formed during her childhood, having been raised “surrounded by hills and Roman remains” in Caerleon, South Wales. Her mother, a retired French teacher, occasionally still works at the local museum whilst her father still owns the original waiting room chair from his years of being a stationmaster.