Per Ahlberg, Professor of Evolutionary Organismal Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden

Per Ahlberg's career as a palaeontologist has been marked by a constant search for balance — between teaching and research, his professional and personal life, and his native Sweden and his adopted home in England. His new position at Uppsala University, he says, brings all of those elements into line.

After earning his PhD in 1989 (see CV), Ahlberg took up a post, the title of which is now extinct — he became a 'departmental demonstrator' at the University of Oxford. That meant a fixed-term contract, with a heavy load of supervising practical lab classes and individual tutorials. Looking back, Ahlberg feels that the mix of teaching and research stood him in good stead. But at the time, he was worried that the position would shackle him professionally, as his teaching commitments meant he couldn't take on the kind of research that can make or break a palaeontologist's career.