Spotlight on Brian Carter
5 October 2016
This week the spotlight is on Brian Carter, Partnerships Manager, UCL Innovation and Enterprise.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I joined UCL recently as a partnerships manager within UCL Innovation and Enterprise, and I work on partnerships relating to the built environment. My role within UCL Innovation and Enterprise is to identify opportunities while supporting academics to engage with companies, in turn developing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. Equally, I identify, approach and guide companies through the process of establishing relationships with UCL. Companies may have multiple queries and questions before establishing a relationship with us - I help them to navigate the organisation by acting as a single point of contact.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I have been at UCL for just over a year now. My immediately prior role was doing pretty much the same thing at the University of Cambridge. Prior to that, I worked in industry for 25+ years, mainly in pharmaceutical research and ICT.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
While working at IBM I was responsible for project managing an energy saving program for their European data centres. They have 14 spread across Europe that use approximately $100m of electricity to run per year. The project involved carrying out thermal scans of the data centres, identifying hot and cold spots, then carrying out remedial action to address issues. On average each data centres energy usage was reduced by 10% per annum after the works were complete, thereby saving IBM $10m per annum.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
The one project that is at the top of my priority list at the moment is investigating the feasibility of setting up an industry club for the construction industry, which will be run out of UCL, utilising the strength of the UCL Bartlett, but will also draw in both large construction companies as well as SMEs active in the sector. The main goals are to provide opportunities for academics and representatives from the companies to interact and also to use funds from membership of the club to support research projects across UCL.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
Very difficult to answer these as I do not have very clear favourites in any of these areas.
I like a very wide cross section of music ranging from classical (Beethoven being a particular favourite) to current performers (e.g. Adele, Jessie Ware, Ellie Goulding…).
As regards to films, I like both action films (e.g. the Ironman series), as well as romantic comedies (e.g. A Good Year).
For novels, I tend towards thriller authors, and have, for example, read the entire set of Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
A man has a sick parrot, and takes it to the vet.
The vet examines the bird and says "I am terribly sorry but your bird is terminally ill, there is nothing that we can do for it."
The owner says "I would very much like to have more tests please."
The vet agrees, leaves the consultation room and returns in a few minutes with a labrador that sniffs the bird and shakes its head. The vet leaves and returns with a cat that does the same.
The owner says to the vet, "What was that?"
The vet says "Well you wanted second opinions, those were the lab report and the cat scan..."
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Tim Berners-Lee, Brian Cox and Steve Jobs.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Start going to the gym regularly at a younger age and keep it up, and try not to let the complications of life in general blow you off course…
What would it surprise people to know about you?
That I have in the past really enjoyed carpentry, and made several items of furniture with my father's assistance. I would love to have the opportunity to be able to take it up again, but do not have the space for a suitable workshop.
What is your favourite place?
Cape Town and the Western Cape area generally in South Africa. I grew up in Durban and lived there for 28 years before moving back to the UK in 1985. In all that time I never once visited the Cape area, and only went there in 2008 for the first time. It is one of the most beautiful areas I have visited, and is relatively safe to visit as long as one is sensible.