Spotlight on... Michael Reynier
1 August 2019
Michael is Principal Partnership Manager at UCL Innovation & Enterprise. Here he shares his experiences setting up London Higher Europe and London Medicine, and his work developing UCL’s relationship with the Greater London Authority.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I lead the Public Sector & the Professions team within UCL Innovation & Enterprise’s Business Innovation Partnerships group. Alongside my colleagues Ben Gascoyne and James Jennings our aim is to develop, sustain and nurture powerful partnerships with key stakeholders in the public sector and the Professions. Our work involves understanding the needs of these stakeholders and supporting UCL’s communities to address those needs through engagement, research and consultancy. We work closely with the London Borough of Camden and the Greater London Authority (GLA) but the team is also developing
relationships with other London Boroughs and representative public sector organizations, all with a view to supporting the application of UCL expertise in these important settings.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I joined UCL in October 2018. Originally my role was to coordinate UCL’s engagement with London through key partnerships, for example with the London boroughs, the Mayor’s Office, the Greater London Authority and other sector bodies (London First, the CBI, the Knowledge Quarter). In the spring 2019 the role was reconfigured to include all of the Public Sector and the Professions. Before joining UCL I was Deputy CEO of London Higher, a membership association of nearly 40 of London’s universities. In this role I promoted higher education in London and set up collaborations between universities. Before then I worked in the Learning & Teaching Support Network (LTSN), a precursor of the Higher Education Academy.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
In my previous role I set up several university collaborations most of which still exist. In 2009 I helped to set up London Medicine, which brings together the five London medical schools (our own Professor Deborah Gill is the current Chair) and in 2013 I was responsible for setting up London Higher Europe, which helps over ten London universities engage with the EU; despite Brexit it still exists!
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
Our team has been working on what we call the ‘Mayoral Strategy Project’. This is an important way in which we are seeking to develop the UCL relationship with the GLA. The Mayor has seven statutory strategies which he must prepare and implement during his term of office. They are important because the strategies inform how the Mayor utilises available funding
and resources. We are helping the UCL community explore how their expertise can be applied to meeting, and informing, the objectives in these strategies. As far as we are aware no other London university is doing this in such a comprehensive way. We hope it will help UCL to be the go-to University for solving London’s challenges.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
Album: ‘The Sidewinder’ by the Lee Morgan quintet; the title track is the only song all my family can agree upon; it’s the opening song for any road-trip; Film: ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’ by Anthony Mingella; London, Bach and Alan Rickman/Juliet Stevenson – how can you improve on that? Novel: ‘The Man who Planted Trees’ by Jean Giono; it’s a very short novella about being persistent and patient – good skills for business partnerships!
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
Two elephants jump off a cliff. Boom! Boom!
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
My mother and father. They both died before I got started in my career. I’d love to catch them up on what I’ve been doing and have them meet my wife and children. No doubt they’d soon start to criticise our choices but it’s only for one meal, right?
But if the question demands a celebrity it would be the poet Ted Hughes and the nature writer Farely Mowat: we’d talk about wolves.
What advice would you give your younger self?
If you arrive before it’s ended, you’re on time (it’s not just about time-keeping!).
What would it surprise people to know about you?
I can make an axe out of flint. I started out as an archaeologist specialising in stone tools.
What is your favourite place?
A certain mountain pass in the Cevennes. It is a forested gorge with an ice-cold ‘cascade’ and a series of deep, clear pools. Swim in one; bottle of Rosé chilling in another.