Royalty at Hull

 This is HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, with Prof. Ken Hawick, our head of department

This is HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, with Prof. Ken Hawick, our head of department

I've not thought that much about royalty in the past. I like collecting small paper pictures of the Queen, or as it is more commonly known, money, but beyond that our paths have not crossed much at all. Until today, when His Royal Highness the Duke of York came to see us at Hull.

Prince Andrew stopped off in the department, where we showed him some of our new toys and what we were doing with them. Then he moved on to a meeting at C4DI which had been organised by the Yorkshire Post Business Club to bring industrialists, educators and local government together for a roundtable debate on apprenticeships, education and vocational learning. It was very interesting. Prince Andrew showed has obviously thought very hard about the issues and had a lot of sensible things to say.

Two things came out of this for me. One was that as the Duke of York he has a very deep interest in Yorkshire (I'd not thought of this aspect of the title before) and the other was that in our department we are doing a lot of the things that he thought were essential to get business and industry going in the area. I said as much (I hope I didn't interrupt him) and I mentioned that I'd been talking to our First Year about just these issues that morning (I had).

In my talk to the new students earlier in the day I'd said that you should regard your time at university as least in part as an exercise in brand building. I'm very keen that folks make sure that when they do something rather good they get the maximum benefit for it. This includes publishing things (both in the marketplace and shared source), blogging, taking part in forums and giving talks. If you get it right they call you, not the other way round.

As he left the prince called out to me "Good luck with your students..", which was rather nice.