Dr Malcolm Ostermeyer
Current Employer/Organisation Name
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
1972-1976 – Research Assistant in Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast 1976-1979 – PH.D. in Zoology, Queen’s University Belfast 1979-1981 – Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Queen’s University Belfast 1981-1983 – Manager of pop group “The Tearjerkers” 1983-1985 – Research Assistant in Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast 1985-1987 – Survey Statistician, NI Civil Service 1987-1990 – Statistician, NI Court Service 1990-2000 – Director of Research, NI Police Authority 2000-2004 – Director of Research and Policy, Office of the Police Ombudsman for NI 2004-2006 – Research Fellow, Institute for Conflict Research, NI.
Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
I was inspired to pursue a career in research into Animal Behaviour by a Lecturer in the Zoology Dept at Exeter, Gill Thompson, so I went off to Belfast to do this – in the depth of The Troubles! After gaining M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees and doing Post-Doc work, however, there were no jobs in academia! So I worked with a band – meeting people like John Peel, U2, Thin Lizzy, Dexy’s, Motorhead, &c. in the process – great fun! Then my statistical knowledge took me to a Civil service research job, and then I got interested in policing – a sensitive topic in Northern Ireland! So I did an M.Scs.. in Criminology and worked on policing for the rest of my career – hugely interesting and enjoyable at an important time in the Peace Process. Now retired!
What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?
Gillian Thompson teaching Animal Behaviour in the final year – totally inspiring. Also wonderful pastoral care from Robin Wootton – with whom I’m still in touch!
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
Lovely relaxed atmosphere and access to fieldwork opportunities in the Scillies, South of France.
Why did you choose to study at Exeter?
To be totally honest – I was looking at information about various Unis, and I noticed that at that time Exeter had roughly equal numbers of male and female students (remember in the late 60’s some Unis were like 10 to 1 male to female)!
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
The statistical skills I picked up during my two years of Psychology classes which went on to be the foundation of most of my career.
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
Be prepared for a lot of set-backs!
What are your plans for the future?
I’m 71 now, so my plans for the future are pretty limited!