BEAR Champion team expansion!

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In September 2019, we launched our BEAR Champion scheme to help spread the word about BEAR services, and the team has now expanded to 16 over all 5 colleges – see our list of BEAR Champions. In the last year, we have welcomed 6 new BEAR Champions – at least one from each College: Jack McMurray from the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, Yin Hoon Chew from the School of Mathematics, Adam Milsom from the School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Bowen Liu from Birmingham Business School and our newest BEAR Champions, Katrina Jan (English Literature) and Hanan Fara (Theology & Religion) have dual roles as both PhD students in the College of Arts and Law and supporting researchers with grant proposals in Research Strategy and Services.

Three years on, after having to hold the majority of our monthly meetings online, we held an in-person lunch to give our BEAR Champions the opportunity to meet each other, as well as members of the Advanced Research Computing team. Chief Information Officer for IT Services, Mark Gee, also popped along to chat to the researchers. As part of our BEAR Champion induction, we arranged a data centre tour, so that they could meet BlueBEAR (our supercomputer!) and see how the innovative warm water cooling works. For this tour, we were also joined by Ben Lockley, Guild Postgraduate Student Officer, who was also interested in seeing what inside a data centre looks like (see our data centre blog posts for some more inside pictures and information).

Our new BEAR Champions outside the research data centre, from left: Katrina, Yin Hoon, Adam, Ben (PG Guild Rep) and Bowen, with tour leader Jon H from the Architecture, Infrastructure and Systems team in Advanced Research Computing.

Inevitably, when dealing with research staff and research students there is a high turnover due to the short-term nature of many of their contracts/funding. We are therefore always looking for new BEAR Champions who can help spread the word in their area, have a read of our ‘Join the BEAR Champion team‘ blog post and fill in the application form if you are interested, or contact us at