Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico
Guys-hero ;

5 minutes with John Darker

John Darker is a Technical Manager in the School of Cancer & Pharmaceutical Sciences, and winner of the Professional Services Research Support Award at this year’s Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine Staff Awards. As part of UK Disability History Month, we wanted to speak to him about his role in setting up Access King's - a network of 300 people advocating for disability inclusion across the college. We also spoke to John about his background in the pharmaceutical industry, his love of poetry, and Stig of the Dump (his favourite book).

John Darker Staff Awards 2023

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

I joined King’s in 2010 as Resource Manager for the, then, Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Division, having spent 24 years in the pharmaceutical industry. I was a medicinal chemist who was also involved in the coordination of health and safety and other operational aspects. I have been School Technical Manager for the School of Cancer & Pharmaceutical Sciences since its formation in 2017.

Additionally, in 2019 I was asked if I would take up one of the Co-Chair positions to co-lead on the creation and development of a new King’s disability inclusion community staff network, a role I continue to carry out, leading on strategy for Access King’s.

What is a typical day like for you?

My technical role encompasses a wide breadth of activities, so each day is different. The role is a mixture of responding to day-to-day issues, meeting with other members of our Technical and Administrative teams. Attending various School or Faculty meetings and implementing new strategic initiatives. My Access King’s Co-Chair (Strategy) role often involves discussions with my fellow Co-Chairs (for Community and for Engagement) to ensure smooth and supportive planning and operations.

Looking back, did the pandemic and resulting lockdowns teach you anything you’re willing to share?

It showed me how hybrid working can provide a better work-life balance without impacting on the quality of the work.

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

I have performed on stage a few times. I also write poetry and hope to get it published at some point.

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

Be more confident.

Do you have any current projects that you’d like to tell us about?

I am currently heavily involved in the King’s Interdisciplinary Science (KIS) project as part of the stakeholder design team covering the Franklin-Wilkins Building. This is a wonderful opportunity to improve facilities within the School and implement cross-Faculty space and sharing efficiences

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Retired and working on various creative writing projects.

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

I enjoy writing poetry. As a family we love musicals and are regular theatre goers.

Who inspires you most and why?

Anyone who succeeds and overcomes adversity and the challenges life can throw at you.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Co-leading on the creation and development of Access King’s over the last four years. The Network has grown from 24 to over 300 members during this time, has achieved lots and has had a major positive impact on disability inclusion at King’s. Please look out for our report to be published as part of this year’s UK Disability History Month celebrations, “Access King’s 2019-2023 - The Journey So Far”.


Favourite London restaurant: Caprini or Eataly.

Favourite book: Stig of the Dump by Clive King, the first book I ever read from start to finish.

Coffee order: Large latte.

One thing you could not go a day without: caffeine.

In this story

John Darker

John Darker

School Technical Manager

Latest news