Alan Jones

1961 Chemistry and Economics

What I am doing now:
Alan Jones 2011 Keelite of the Month Dec 2011 Presently living a contented but reasonably busy life, which follows from being in relatively good health, having a home in good shape (maybe the garden needs a work over), finding happiness in family relationships, living in a safe country, neighbourhood, and a clean environment, possessing a strong sense of belonging within the community; and most importantly having lots of diverse activities. Since the early 1990s my main recreation apart from travel has been painting in oils, including places visited. My first solo exhibition was in July 2010 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. I serve on the management committee of the Artist’s Society of Canberra. My paintings are represented in private collections throughout the world.

How did you get to where you are now?
Nil nisi labore. Phase I involved training as a research chemist at Birmingham and Monash University, Australia. The latter is a giveaway for another ongoing interest – travel. At the University of Utah I became a pioneer in the development of carbon-13 magnetic resonance spectroscopy. I returned to Australia in 1974 as Head of the proposed National Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Centre at the Australian National University (ANU), the first outside the UK using high-field superconducting magnets. Phase II was dominated by science communication. I took a short break to work as an advisor to Government first on medical imaging and then other emerging technologies. In 1990 I was appointed as Australian Science and Industry Counsellor and Deputy Ambassador to Germany – matchmaking Australian science and industry capabilities with those of Germany ultimately led to an array of bilateral treaties and collaborative ventures. My interests also turned to determining how the national systems of innovation functioned throughout Europe. Phase III commenced when I returned to Australia in mid-1995. I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, and recommenced some activities in the world of chemistry. I was invited to join a team developing an ‘Innovation Statement’ for Australia, culminating in the Innovation Summit of 2000 and later presentations in China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Arabian Gulf nations, Singapore and New Zealand.  Phase IV: Academe beckoned with appointments to the National Graduate School of Management (ANU), the Innovation Management Centre, University of Queensland and the University of Canberra. I also set up a Consultancy providing for several international bodies and governments. I publish a monthly column on ‘Networks’ in the magazine ‘Chemistry in Australia’.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I don’t have big achievements I just unashamedly have some minor personal milestones to cherish.

And your biggest mistake?
Perhaps allowing my fundamentally socialist background to come to the fore even in discussions with liberal/conservative politicians.

What are your ambitions now?
To continue to develop my techniques with oils, especially in life drawing and to take on other techniques like pastels and acrylics, but most of all to hold more exhibitions with a view to sales; and to actively think and write.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in a similar field?
Keep an open mind in all your endeavours and you will find that all aspects of your training and capabilities can be capitalised upon.

What made you choose Keele University?
Alan Jones 1961 Keelite of the Month Dec 2011 21st Birthday in Horwood The Foundation Year offered the opportunity to explore subjects outside the confines of the old GCE ‘meat and two veg’, in my case chemistry, physics and maths. I explored economics having had Professor Bruce Williams as my first year tutor – not only was he an excellent mentor, but an Aussie to boot. Little did I know then of the overall influence this would have on me and our future crossing of paths in prescribing “Technologies for the Future” for Australia.
Photo Left: 21st Birthday party in Horwood

What kind of a student were you?
I performed well beyond my own expectations up to one fateful exam paper during finals. Friendships with students outside my areas of study were invaluable.

How has Keele influenced your life?
The uniqueness of my Keele degree gave me the versatility to develop expertise in some quite challenging areas above and beyond the usual domains of profession/trade-like training.

What is your favourite memory of Keele?
The glorious grounds and gardens as an escape from the dreadful environmental crimes that were committed to fashion the local urbanisations, and in my final year the pleasant backdrop to outdoor economic debates/tutorials.

What is your impression of Keele now?
I have made several return trips to Keele over the years including seminar presentations in Chemistry. I have a lot to thank the late Professors Harry Springhall, Ian T Millar and Bruce Williams for. Keele has come a long way since the days of UCNS. She’s bigger, better, and more pervasive than I would have ever considered possible. The links to medicine seem to have had a profound influence.

P.S. I like the modern crest!