Turn On Your Future @ Swansea's School of Applied Computing : UWTSD


Richard Evans studied the MSc e-Commerce (Business pathway) at the School of Applied Computing UWTSD Swansea. He is now a Research Fellow @ the University of Greenwich, to learn more about Richard’s Career success please continuing reading below.

What was your HE course at the School of Applied Computing?

 MSc in e-Commerce (Business).

 What is your job title and role?

 Research Fellow in Knowledge Management for Collaborative Product Development at the University of Greenwich

My role within the University of Greenwich is to conduct research into the use of Web 2.0 technologies to improve employee collaboration and knowledge sharing during product development lifecycles in extended supply chains. I am currently working in collaboration with CESi University, Rouen, France as part of a European INTERREG research project.

My responsibilities include: liaising and maintaining links with industrial collaborators, organising bi-annual industrial workshops, identifying potential funding opportunities and assisting with grant applications. I review articles for the International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control and the International Conference on Teaching, Assessment and Learning for Engineering and am currently a member of the Host Organising Committee for the International Conference on Computer Aided Design and Applications Conference, which is being held at the University of Greenwich in 2015. Finally, I teach and assess two MSc modules within the Faculty of Engineering and Science: Research Methodologies and e-Technologies. I am also a Visiting Lecturer at Cranfield University where I teach lectures to MSc students on the use of Web 2.0 Technologies in Business.

 Could you briefly describe the organization you work for?

The University of Greenwich is a British University with over 27,000 students and offers HE courses, including undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. The university has three main campuses situated in the South East of England. I currently work in the Centre of Innovative Product Development and Manufacturing (CiPDM) which sits within the Faculty of Engineering and Science.

The CiPDM carries out strategic research and consultancy in the manufacturing sector in areas such as new product development; collaboration between Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and their suppliers; digital and sustainable manufacturing; information and knowledge management; and product lifecycle management. The centre focuses on new enabling technologies and methods and processes for the design, manufacturing and servicing of high value complex engineering products and systems in the aerospace, automotive, power generation and general manufacturing sector. The centre employs six members of academic staff, including myself, and we currently have six full-time PhD students who work in collaboration with our industrial partners who include BAE Systems, Cummins Power Generation and Ford Motor Company.

 A brief summary of your Career, how you got to where you are today?

After finishing my MSc degree in e-Commerce, I immediately got offered the role of Online Product Manager for Dunelm Mill Ltd, the UK’s largest home furnishings organisation. I stayed in the role for 8 months before seeking funded PhD programmes; this led me to the position at BAE Systems, which I started in October 2010. During my PhD, I worked for BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems division in Rochester, Kent. I also became a professional member of both the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the British Computer Society (BCS). I successfully defended my PhD in August 2013 and was then offered a full-time role at the University of Greenwich as a research fellow in knowledge management for collaborative product development.

 Which skills learned at University are helpful to you in your job?

Good question! In my own experience, the knowledge I acquired in web programming has helped a lot during my PhD where I had to create a bespoke IT system. When working for Dunelm Mill, my knowledge of e-Commerce Law really helped – I think this is only available on the business route.

 Do you have a typical day and how would you describe it?

A typical day can take one of two routes:

  1. During term time, I would teach two lectures per week, meet with MSc students for supervision meetings, assess coursework submissions and conduct research, including reading academic publications, writing articles for submission. I also typically present at two international conferences per year within the fields of manufacturing and information systems.
  2. During non-term time, I spend all day conducting research – reading through publications and formilising my own ideas for new projects and publications. I would also assist the Centre manager in research grant applications and management.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?

Two aspects stand out: liaising with industrial collaborators – seeing your research being transferred into a commercial setting gives you a real “buzz” and also attending conferences and networking events – not only do you get to travel the world, but you get to meet new people from other Universities who may turn into collaborators on future projects.

 Do you have any advice for students who would like to start a Career in the IT industry? 

  • Do not underestimate your own knowledge and skills – you will find when you join a large organisation that you are more than capable with the knowledge which you have acquired at University.
  • Become a member of a professional association e.g. British Computer Society (BCS). Attend their networking events and gain knowledge about the current needs and challenges in the IT industry.
  • Gain greater knowledge of the current systems used within the IT industry e.g. in my role at Dunelm Mill, we used IBM WebSphere Commerce and Google Analytics for e-Commerce tasks. Having worked for BAE Systems, I found that Microsoft Sharepoint and Yammer is relied upon for employee collaboration whilst PTC WindChill and other PLM tools are used for manufacturing work.

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