I arrived as Director of HSMC on 1 October 2002, and vividly remember looking out of my office window and thinking how privileged I was to have been given this role and wondering whether I was up to the job. In my mind's eye, this recollection has the rhododendron bushes in full flower so both these thoughts must have lingered for quite some time!
I must have done some things right, as in August 2006 I was appointed Head of the School of Public Policy, in which HSMC was located, and then became Head of the College of Social Sciences in January 2008. As a result I still take a very active interest in the continuing success of HSMC, which is still based in the combination of intellectual rigour and policy and practice relevance that has always characterised its contribution; indeed, in many ways it is my idea of the model academic enterprise. Many of its friends in the world of health and social care will be very familiar with its impact on service design and delivery but perhaps fewer will be aware that three of the top ten research grant winning professors in my College are in HSMC.