Having dreamt since childhood to be a public intellectual, a degree in sociology only seemed natural; I got this from the University of Sofia ‘Kliment Ohridski’ and followed it with a PhD in sociology of science at the Institute of Sociology, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. As if this wasn’t enough, in the 1990s I decided it is time to get some more qualifications: an MSc in ‘Technical Change and Industrial Strategy’ and a PhD in science studies and policy from the then Victoria University of Manchester sounded like reasonable choices.
I started my academic career as a theoretical sociologist of science back in Bulgaria and continued as a science policy and innovation studies scholar at the University of Manchester. Currently I am at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (MIoIR; previously PREST), Manchester Business School (MBS).
Intellectually, my research is about science dynamics; more specifically it is about ‘policy driven’ change affecting both the social conditions of science and research (organisations, relationships and rules of exchange; structures etc.) and their intellectual conditions. The theory of science as a relationship between research fields and research spaces, I am working on, provides an intellectual lens for the analysis of the links between the social and the intellectual conditions of science and research; between policy and knowledge with particular epistemic properties.
I teach at Masters and undergraduate level as well as on Executive courses. Training PhD researchers, both teaching core courses on the MBS Doctoral programme and supervision, is an important part of my job. I believe that learning is the key activity in universities – be it learning as building the fundaments on knowledge or as achieving mastery; it is not only that it is our duty and honour to make sure our students learn but also that we continue learning from and through them. During the different stages of my university career I have developed and/or co-developed a number of teaching programmes, courses and modules.
I also have extensive experience of academic leadership. During my three years as a Postgraduate Research Director of MBS (2003 – 2006) I led the development of the Doctoral School and Research Training Programme which is currently ranked 1st in the World by the Financial Times. My term as Associate Dean for PGR (Graduate Education) was also very fruitful (2006-2009).
At present, most of my time is dedicated to thinking, research and writing – the three aspects of academic life that fill my life with excitement and joy. And teaching, of course!
Have I achieved my childhood dream to be a public intellectual? Not by a long way but I am still trying!