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5 minutes with Elizabeth Hayes

Elizabeth Hayes joined the School of Cancer & Pharmaceutical Sciences in December 2023 as its new School Manager. We grabbed 5 minutes of Liz's time to chat about her background as a supramolecular transition metal chemist, working in a coal mine, and her love of golden era detective novels.

Elizabeth Hayes

Briefly, tell us about your background and career up to this point?

I joined King’s in December 2023, having spent the previous nine years working at Imperial, mostly as a Centre Manager and Department Manager in the School of Public Health, but including a secondment to Aeronautics. Prior to that I worked at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) managing peer review processes. Before switching to research management, I started life as a supramolecular transition metal chemist, completing my studies in Australia before moving to the UK to work first as a university researcher, and then in development and operations in several biotechnology start-ups.

What do you think people in the School would find most surprising about you?

I used to work in a coal mine!

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

All the best-laid plans go awry – you won’t end up remotely where you think you will, but that’s no bad thing.

What do you do with your time outside academia/work?

I like reading crime fiction – my tastes are wide but I’m particularly fond of golden era detective novels from the 1920s and 1930s. I go to the cinema as much as possible, I’ll see pretty much anything, I just love sitting in the dark and giving all my attention to watching something on the big screen. I also like swimming, and playing board games – some of my favourites from last year were strategy games like Azul and Nova Luna, and party games like Herd Mentality and Poetry for Neanderthals. I’m a volunteer and Trustee for my local Samaritans branch, where I help with fundraising and submitting grant applications – there are a surprising number of similarities with scientific grants! I have also just joined my local Women’s Institute – I’m only moderately crafty but am hoping to dedicate some more time to that in 2024, and have grand crochet plans.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Working at King’s of course! I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone in the School and learning more about the amazing research and teaching that’s taking place, and understanding how I can support that. I’m also looking forward to getting to know a new part of London, after spending the last few years out in the wild west, so all recommendations are welcome.


Favourite season: Autumn

Favourite book: Any green Penguin – I like to trawl through second-hand bookstores looking for vintage crime fiction novels. Or for something more recent, the Rivers of London novels by Ben Aaronovitch.

Netflix recommendation: Disney+ rather than Netflix lately for me – Only Murders in the Building, The Bear and What We Do in the Shadows

Coffee order: Black Americano

In this story

Elizabeth Hayes

Elizabeth Hayes

School Manager

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