Dr Jen Fensome conducted her undergraduate Genetics degree at York University, with a year out in the Forensic Science Service, and her PhD at Leicester University in Glenfield Hospital, investigating the genes responsible for hereditary high blood pressure. She then went to work in the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl), a trading agency of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), as a knowledge management consultant to the resident scientists and technologists. This involved supporting a whole range of projects across different disciplines and conducting large scale projects of her own, working with high level stakeholders in order to inform the MoD’s research programmes. Jen then went on to manage the MoD’s human sciences research programme which included identifying research requirements and initiating grant calls, reviewing bids and contracts, commissioning research and reviewing the progress and delivery of the projects. Finally, Jen moved back into the HEI sector by firstly taking up a position as a Research Development Manager at the University of Bedfordshire then as Research Support Partner at the University of Birmingham for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, requiring her to establish a new research support service (including bid development and quality, identifying funding opportunities, improving the research support infrastructure, co-ordinating research activity and supporting a culture of research community).
Head of Research Excellence: In this role, Jen ensures that Cranfield University's research strategies, research activities and research aspirations are delivered through the provision of appropriate researcher and senior management support, systems, and strategic planning.
Jen leads on the delivery and monitoring of the University’s Research Strategy and co-ordination of REF activity to prepare for the next submission. She also leads the development and management of the Research Excellence Team, situated within the Research & Innovation Office, which provides expertise, support and best practice for academic staff in three main areas - REF2020/1, research funding, and researcher development. In addition, the team provides support for research quality assurance and evaluation, research policy, and governance. Through building and co-ordinating relationships with key research funders, Jen oversees support to the University’s Schools in securing funding and maintain intelligence on research policy development as well as implementing quality assurance procedures for application submissions. Finally, she ensure the University supports researcher development through appropriate training, funding awareness, encouraging research innovation, and the establishment of effective research communities.