Originally from Ireland, Grainne Mullen moved to Adelaide last year and is embracing the SA lifestyle while managing the diverse responsibilities of Flinders University’s grants and tenders team.
What is your role at Flinders University and what was your work journey that led you here?
My role here at Flinders is Manager Research Grants & Tenders in Research Development & Support (RDS). For me, working at Flinders is the culmination of the trifecta in research administration. I have worked at the Cancer Institute of NSW as a funder, at a research institute at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, and now at a University…Flinders. I feel that this experience gave me a great foundation for my role here.
I also think this job was made for me, when I told my friends I would be managing the grants and tenders team it was agreed that this was right up my alley!
What does a normal day look like for you?
There is no normal day in the world of research management. We have regular peak periods where my team assists researchers with preparation and submission of applications to the major funders like the NHMRC & ARC and on the other end of the spectrum we have tenders and MRFF applications with a shorter turnaround for preparation and submission. Under this umbrella of pre-award activities we also source funding opportunities, deliver scheduled training sessions and manage internal grant schemes. My team also manages a lot of the post award administration for successful grants. As a result, we work collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders at Flinders including Research Contracts, Grants Finance, RDS College support staff and externally with funders and other universities.
On a daily basis my role involves balancing the grants and tenders team’s priorities to ensure we can provide the best possible support we can for the amazing researchers at Flinders.
Can you share a challenge in your life and how you dealt with it?
Moving to Adelaide last year was a challenge. Over a period of about nine months we sold our house in Sydney, bought a new house here, I started at Flinders and my husband set up his own business! We did move from Ireland to Sydney back in 2002 but without a house etc it seemed an easier move ironically.
I think how we dealt with the challenge was with a sense of humour, a drop or two of gin and exploring our new home of Adelaide so we appreciated why we made the move.
Are there any regular challenges you face on campus?
Well people pronouncing my name is a regular challenge not just at Flinders but in Australia in general. I often get called ‘Granny’ or Grainy’ there are even You Tube clips on how to say my name! Gráinne is pronounced as ‘Grawn-yah’. So my coffee name is Grace, the English for Gráinne.
How do you relax in your spare time, or any interests or hobbies that you can share?
I am very fortunate to live near the beach, so I love going for walks along the esplanade where I regularly bump into my Flinders colleagues. We also got kayaks for Christmas so during summer we often went out on the water, though I have learnt I am a fair-weather kayaker. I also love slow mindful yoga – this is my time to unwind and relax.