Interview: DSA recipient Tim Reynolds

10 July 2018

Tim Reynolds is one of three recipients of this year’s Distinguished Service Awards (DSA). Having joined SCI in 1987, Tim has sat on various committees, including the Early Careers Committee whose members nominated him for this award. Here, Tim describes about his involvement and experiences at SCI.

When and why did you become a member of SCI?

I was a reader of C&I before becoming a member in 1987. I used to read it in the library at the research centre that was my first paid employment. That may have initially motivated me to ‘sign up’.

Why did you decide to get involved in committee work?

After I made my transition from research work into communications and public relations, I was asked to become a member of the SCI Marketing and Development Committee (MADC) chaired by Colin Borg. As well as MADC and its various incarnations I have been a member of the Membership Affairs Committee, Chair of the Awards Committee, a member of the Early Careers Committee, and Chair the committee that looks after the Public Evening Lectures.

What has driven your continued involvement with SCI?

SCI is a very friendly and open organisation. It doesn’t suffer so much with the hierarchy that you might find in more academic-orientated societies. It is also very much about applied science; the interface where pure knowledge becomes useful stuff. Nowadays everyone talks about ‘working along the value chain’, innovation and multi-disciplinary approaches but it strikes me that this has always been the language and motivation of SCI right from the beginning, which makes it a unique and very valuable organisation.

How do your SCI activities reflect your personal/professional interests?

I like to work at the interface of a number of disciplines – my first degree was joint honours chemistry and physics and I just couldn’t choose between the two! This is probably why I feel so ‘at home’ with SCI.

How do you think that your contribution has helped shape SCI?

Two things spring to mind. I was chair of the SCI Awards Committee when the concept of the College of Scholars – led by Natalie Fey – was first raised and the SCI Scholarships reviewed. This was the foundation of the work of the current Early Careers Committee that I am proud to still be a part of. More recently, I become chair of the Public Evening Lecture committee and organising these wide-ranging popular lectures that help to raise the profile of the society has been very interesting, successful, and also great fun.

What are your thoughts about receiving a Distinguished Service Award?

It was a complete surprise to me and unexpected! I was nominated by Alan Heaton and the rest of the Early Careers Committee, but I didn’t pick up any hints from any one of them. It is a great warm feeling to be recognised by your colleagues and the society for your contributions.

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