Athena Swan Chain Reaction Interview 6: When Emma met Bangar

E Hock and S Bangar 

Emma Hock interviewing Surinder Bangar

Emma: What does your work at ScHARR entail?

Bangar: I am a researcher and Deputy Impact Lead for ScHARR. Our team works to strengthen the impact of research for wider benefits and my role gives me the chance to be involved across our research portfolio. As well as contributing to research impact strategy, I develop guidance on optimising pathways to impact and support the development of impact case studies.

I have recently been seconded to undertake a programme of research with the National Institute for Health Research Central Commissioning Facility (NIHR CCF). It’s exciting to have the opportunity to share national impact developments with ScHARR and to carry ScHARR’s practical experience and expertise in impact to a wider community.

Emma: How did you get here?

Bangar: Unplanned. My week is split evenly between ScHARR and the NIHR secondment which is also linked to a part-time PhD. I initially joined ScHARR part-time in 2011 as part of a knowledge exchange consortium focused on ageing research, then was fortunate enough to move into the newly created impact role in 2013.

I originally trained as a teacher and enjoyed working in Sheffield secondary schools and as a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, leading a national programme of Work Based Learning initiatives. I left Sheffield Hallam while my children were young but continued to work on a range of consultancy projects. My commissions kept me connected with education and also spanned health, social care, industry and the voluntary sector.

Emma: What are you proud of?

Bangar: I am proud of my parents - in the mid-1960s they took the leap of faith to move to England from India in the hope of creating a better life for their children. It meant access to education and I’ve felt drawn to the power of education to change lives ever since.

I am proud and excited to build upon the collective expertise and experience across ScHARR which has led to the national impact role - it is a team-based endeavour.

Emma: What do you like about working in ScHARR?

Bangar: Being a part of the ScHARR community and the many partnerships we maintain - both across the University and externally. I value the people I am able to work with, and also the multidisciplinary team approach - it provides a richness and diversity which is a fertile environment to stimulate new possibilities.

Practically, ScHARR leadership support for flexibility in working arrangements has made it possible for me to sustain caring responsibilities alongside work. This is hugely beneficial.

Emma: Do you have any tips on how to maintain a good “work-life” balance?

Bangar: There are times when my patterns tend to vary to ‘pull out the stops’ - either for work or other needs.

A dear friend used to say ‘count your blessings’. Make the most of your life and treasure what matters to you.