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Stephen Woodley joined Biomedical Services (BMS) last October as Head of Research Delivery. In this role, Stephen is responsible for the function within BMS, providing care and welfare of animals within research. The role is also responsible for supporting researchers, in particular with procedural support offered by the department. In this Sixty Seconds interview, we hear from Stephen about his career to date, what a typical day is like for him and about his passion for animal welfare.

Firstly, please can you tell us about your career to date?

I started my career as a Trainee Animal Technologist at University College London (UCL), Institute of Ophthalmology in 2002. While at UCL, I worked my way up through various roles, eventually becoming a Facility Manager. In 2015, I moved to King's College London as Deputy Site Manager and after 2-months I was promoted to Site Manager. In March 2020 I was appointed to the role of Director of Biological Services (animal facilities). I came to Oxford in October 2022, in the role of Head of Research Delivery in Biomedical Services (BMS).

In recent years I was awarded the AALAC International Fellowship Award for my contribution to animal welfare and research support. I was also jointly awarded the Andrew Blake tribute award for a paper on reducing the number of tick over colonies through cryopreservation methods.

Currently, I sit on the Board of Directors for Understanding Animals in Research and I am the chair of the Institute of Animal Technology, Oxfordshire branch.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Each day varies within my role, however typically I am involved with operational or research support. This involves providing advice to animal technologists at various levels and supporting researchers with their projects. As I begin to settle in my new role, I will be striving to help upskill technical staff within BMS and provide improved research support throughout the department.

What inspires you?

Ensuring a culture of care towards animals and staff I work with is an area which really inspires me. Seeing the team develop themselves, ensuring a high level of staff morale, and ensuring the highest standards of animal welfare is a great reward.

It is also really inspiring getting to work with researchers on their projects and seeing discoveries made to improve human and animal welfare through their work.

What do you like to do to relax?

I enjoy spending time with my family, walking our Border Collie and exercising.

If you weren’t Head of Research Delivery, what would you like to be doing?

I would probably be in a similar role either within a university or commercial company, or alternatively working in project management role.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Ice cream, in copious volumes.