Hot on the heels of the AHRC's appointment of Mark Llewellyn as Director of Research, it has announced that Dr Ian Lyne is to be its Associate Director of Programmes. As you will remember, Mark Llewellyn is something of a babe in arms, having been a jobbing postdoc until five years ago. By comparison Ian Lyne is positively decrepit, having been a BA-funded postdoc at Warwick from 1995-98. That was last century!
Unlike Llewellyn, Lyne's postdoctoral career has been more administrative than academic. By the sounds of it, he felt battered and bruised by the expectations of academia: 'an academic research career is...very competitive and I was beginning to fear that I was not going to enjoy the constant pressure to keep publishing new work. There was also a growing feeling that it would be nice to have a job where one could feel one could see more concrete results, and get involved in more concrete activities.'
Thus, he fled to Durham, where he became an Administrative Officer, before moving to Exeter to be Assistant Registrar (Graduate School). He then got swallowed up in Death Star House as Head of Careers and Skills at the BBSRC, before becoming Head of Policy at RCUK.
An interesting trajectory, then, and not one that would necessarily instil confidence in the hearts of Humanities academics, I think. He will, after all be 'work[ing] alongside Emma Wakelin and Gary Grubb in developing the AHRC’s new range of research programmes.' He it is who will have his finger on the button of the AHRC's Random Word Generator, used in the creation of all their programmes. If his most recent experience at the cutting edge of Humanities research is as a postdoc 14 years ago, there may be rumblings of discontent in the sector.
However, I think this does him a disservice. His diverse career should be seen as a strength rather than a weakness: he has seen academia from both sides: as academic and administrator, as recipient and giver. He should be well placed to empathise with all sides, and make the judgements of Solomon necessary in concocting new programmes. We here in Fundermental Towers wish him all the best in the challenging times ahead.
Finally, whilst I know the photo's blurry, is there the hint of Gary Lineker in Lyne's greying locks? No? Just wait until he picks up a packet of crisps; the resemblance is uncanny.