Professor Sam Salek
Professor Sam Salek, Director of the Centre for Socioeconomic Research, remembers the chance encounter that led him to Cardiff University.
Professor Sam Salek
I came to Cardiff in the summer of 1985 to attend my cousinís wedding. It was exactly the way it was this summer Ė rainy and cold. When we were standing on the steps of the church, we all wore our sheep-skin coats. It was 21 June, supposedly the hottest day of the year.
I was on my way to America where I was due to begin a PhD programme at the University of Illinois. But before I could leave Wales, my uncle convinced me to come up to Cardiff University to meet the head of the clinical pharmacy department. My uncle had previously studied Pharmacy as a Mature Student at Cardiff University. I agreed and spent a few hours learning about the Welsh School of Pharmacy here at Cardiff. By the time I got home, the letter offering me a job was waiting for me. In that short visit, I had felt at home. I thought perhaps I ought to give Cardiff a try. Iíve never looked back.
More than 20 years later, the school has been able to achieve so much. I credit that to the forward thinking of both the university and schoolís leaders, and the innovation that has been fostered. Our research is read around the world and our educational programmes are first class. It has been hard work but well worth it. With my many projects, from the newly formed MSc programme in International Pharmoeconomics and Health Economics, to the launch of the Centre of Socioeconomic Research, I hope to make a difference and leave a legacy.
One of the most memorable accomplishments was the day the centre opened in 1998. King Edward VII Avenue was completely shut down for leaders within the pharmaceutical industry, as well as within Welsh politics, to park their cars. People who normally buzz in and out of events spent all afternoon rejoicing in our success. It was one of the most unique experiences Iíve had while working at Cardiff University.
Since the Centre for Socioeconomic Research opened 10 years ago, we have had great success researching the impact of drugs on patientsí physical and psycho-social behavior. When I first came here this type of research was looked at with a sceptical eye, but over the years the methodologies we developed to study this have become cutting-edge. Now, the centre carries out research in collaboration with a range of pharmaceutical companies and charities. Cardiff University should be applauded for providing the kind of environment where new ideas can grow.
Cardiff University stands out above the many other institutions of higher education to which I have been exposed. There is an ease with which communication between all levels of faculty, staff and leadership happens. This is how new ideas are shaped and innovation rises to the top. It is what has given me the drive to work all hours of the day to make Cardiff University the best in Britain and the world. As it celebrates 125 years, I hope the university will continue to strive for its vision for the future, as a frontrunner in all areas of research and teaching.