Me & My job: James Hitchmough, professor, University of Sheffield's Department of Landscape. of Horticultural Ecology

- What is your typical day?

As professor of horticultural ecology at the university's department of landscape, it's split between teaching, research and admin. I have a research group of about six PhD students and I chair the research team.

- What takes up most of your time?

Forty per cent teaching, 40 per cent research and 20 per cent administration and management.

- Do you get out of the office enough?

I try to get out a lot. Last week, I was sowing a meadow at RHS Wisley and did some research in Germany.

- What is the best part of your job?

The best part is doing the research. It is about generating new ideas, going to places people have not been before and testing ideas. We're creating something, helping people's understanding and leaving a legacy of ideas.

- And the worst?

University meetings. I would rather be doing other things.

- What piece of kit can't you do without?

My laptop and growth cupboards for working with seed.

- How do you wind down after a day's work?

I don't tend to wind down; I'm pretty full-on most of the time. I can switch off but I'm deeply immersed in what I do.

- What does the future hold?

More of the same. There are an awful lot of different vegetation types I'd like to learn to understand. I'm working on South African meadow vegetation at the moment, so the next five to 10 years will be dominated by that.


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