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Slings and arrows

Yesterday’s keynote session at the Arma conference provided contrasting advice for universities.

Delegates at the annual conference of the Association of Research Managers and Administrators can look out from the International Convention Centre in Belfast to see the iconic twin cranes Samson and Goliath, which dominate the skyline over the Harland and Wolff shipyard. The Titanic was built there. The gantry cranes are named after two biblical figures: one who brought the house down and one who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The history of Belfast is full of figures who were capable of bringing the house down and usually harming themselves in the process: George Best, Alex Higgins and Van Morrison all spring to mind. The city has also had its fair share of unexpected defeats. You might remember Barry McGuigan losing his world title to the unknown Steve Cruz, or Arlene Foster after the 2017 election…Hold on, that one doesn’t work.

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