I work as a consultant through my company, Parker Derrington Ltd. Most of my work consists of writing research grant applications and training and advising individuals and groups. I have always been interested in what Universities do and how they can do it better. Most of my career was as a university insider, now I work from the outside.
When I left school I wanted to be a (medical) doctor and went to Oxford University to study Medicine. However, when I started learning about – and doing – research on the brain, I got interested in research and I decided to do a PhD before finishing my medical studies. I haven’t yet finished them!
My research aimed to understand the brain mechanisms of visual perception. I have published influential papers on the mechanisms of colour vision, the limits of vision, the perception of spatial structure, mechanisms of orientation-discrimination and on the analysis and perception of motion.
I was a successful academic and was Professor of Psychology at the University of Nottingham from 1993-2004. I then became head of Psychology at Newcastle and found that I really enjoyed managing academics but it didn’t leave much time for research. I decided to take management seriously and held senior positions at the University of Kent (Dean of Social Sciences) and Liverpool (Pro Vice Chancellor for Humanities and Social Sciences). I left Liverpool in 2014 and work exclusively through Parker Derrington Ltd.
With Jacqueline Aldridge, a colleague from the University of Kent, I wrote a book to help academics to decide what sort of research grants to apply for, and to write better research grant applications. I also have a blog.