Dr Dai LLemmer

July 20, 2007

A number of readers have called the new "Dr Dai Llemmer confidential premium rate telephone hotline(TM)", which provides exclusive real-time advice from Dai to those with the requisite credit rating. With the callers' consent, we will occasionally "listen in" to these conversations as a refreshing alternative to the regular column. (Calls may be chargeable against the full economic costings of a research council grant or postdoctoral bursary, but if you don't pay the phone bill always ask an adult or the relevant pro vice chancellor before calling in.)

"Hello, is that Dai Llemmer?

Yes it is; how can I help you, caller?

Look, it's all a bit tricky; I work in a Russell Group university near Corby, and I feel as if I'm living in a madhouse...

You probably are, caller. But what seems to be the problem?

Well, I used to work in a department, and I knew where I was then; but now we are being reorganised into schools, and it's all very confusing...

That's not uncommon, caller. A lot of universities have reorganised themselves into schools, there's something of a fad for it. I shouldn't worry; they'll probably reorganise you back into departments in a year or so.

No, we are actually being reorganised into schools. My department, pharmacology and bio-ethics, is being relocated to somewhere called Saint Ursula's RC Infants, which is apparently out on the ring-road beyond Homebase. Poor old Classics are off to the Young Offenders Centre on the Harborough Road. I think the vice-chancellor has got the wrong end of the stick somehow...

That does seem a little odd...

Apparently the opportunities for outreach and 'third-leg' funding are greater there, and we'll improve recruitment by running a 'starting science' course for something called the 'rising Year 6s', but it all seems a bit unlikely. I mean, how can the lab facilities be 'of a comparable standard'? The laser flash-photolysis instrumentation will be in its infancy...

As will the students...

Sorry?

Nothing. I think there may be a problem with the line. Could you swipe your credit card through the reader again...

OK, there we go. Look, they say we must embrace structural innovation, but why? 'Reducing administration through institutional de-layering' sounds fine in theory, but it looks as if I'm actually gaining jobs.

I'll lose undergraduate admissions, but have to agree to be available for occasional playground supervision and to cover for someone called Mrs Braithwaite in the dining room.

My wife thinks I might have to meet that Jamie Oliver...

Well that's a bonus, surely?

Hardly, I can't understand a word the fellow says. But it's the transgenic mouse I'm most worried about. Won't the children try to pull its heads off?

Hmm. I hear what you're saying, caller, but, look on the bright side; at least you can go home at 3.30!

Oh, I won't be going home. They're moving the alumni office into our flat. My wife and I will be sharing the nursery Wendy house with two readers in bioinformatics. It's Brrrrrrr

Oh, I think that's your credit limit, caller. Do ring again if you need more advice."

If you have a problem that you think Dr Dai Llemmer can help with, phone now. Calls cost approximately £8K per minute with on-costs and chargeable space-drivers. Mobile tariffs vary.

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