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April 11, 2013

University of Warwick

Robert Harrison

The newly appointed professor of innovative manufacturing at WMG, the University of Warwick’s manufacturing group, said his first priority since taking up the post three weeks ago has been to get his team set up. “I’ve brought a group of eight researchers with me from Loughborough University and they only arrived yesterday, so we’ve just been finding our feet,” Robert Harrison said. The move represented a “good opportunity”, he noted, in terms of the range of companies with which he would be able to collaborate and the impact his group could have on the automotive sector in particular. “The move allows me to develop research and reach a range of companies in the supply chain I’m working with and enable them to exploit what we’re doing,” he added. “We’ve worked with Ford, ThyssenKrupp system engineering, Jaguar-Land Rover and other automotive sector companies. But we’re particularly keen to bring in small companies, too.” During an apprenticeship with British Aerospace, Professor Harrison was sponsored to do a BTech at Loughborough, where he later took his PhD and went on to hold a chair in automation systems. He has also held sabbatical positions at the National University of Singapore and at Schneider Electric.

Denis Gleeson, University of Wolverhampton

University of Wolverhampton

Denis Gleeson

Promoting “the often unrecognised achievements of teachers, students, colleges and employers” is one of the main aims of the new professorial chair of the University of Wolverhampton’s Centre for Research and Development in Lifelong Education. Denis Gleeson noted that the recent row between education secretary Michael Gove, Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw and academics and teaching unions shows how fractious the UK education system is. “It’s quite an achievement for the secretary of state for education to unite three warring teacher unions in opposition to his ill-thought-out proposals,” he said. Professor Gleeson also said that Wolverhampton served to contradict Sir Michael’s claim that academics live in “ivory towers”. “Behind this hoary old chestnut rests a deeper breach of trust between government, Ofsted and universities, at a time when ‘both Michaels’ want to deregulate mandatory teacher education from its close partnership arrangements with higher education,” he said. He added that Ofsted and the government should also be challenged “to develop a better understanding of the significant bridging role [further education] plays between employers, communities and individuals, in the process of social and economic renewal”.

Chris Carr, University of Leeds

University of Leeds

Chris Carr

The new chair of textile technology and the recently appointed head of the School of Design at the University of Leeds said it was “luck, fate” that he entered the world of textiles. “I had a number of PhD choices but studying the surface area of wool sounded far more interesting than any of the others,” Chris Carr said. Professor Carr joined Leeds from the University of Manchester in January thanks to a £1.75 million grant from the Clothworkers’ Foundation that funded both his appointment and new equipment. He took up his position as head of school only a few weeks ago. Professor Carr joins the team in the Clothworkers’ Centre for Textile Materials Innovation for Healthcare to undertake research into non-woven textiles on behalf of the healthcare sector. He will be helping to address pressing demands such as the development of new filters to remove impurities from blood to enable safer transfusions. But Professor Carr said his new role was much broader, adding: “I do stuff on haircare. I did my PhD in surface chemistry in wool and there’s not much difference between wool and human hair. They serve the same sort of purposes but obviously when you buy a conditioner for your hair it’s more expensive than a softener that you put on a textile.” Professor Carr studied for his undergraduate degree and PhD at what is now Cardiff University and has worked at what was the Scottish College of Textiles and the US Department of Agriculture.

Lesley Sawers, Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow Caledonian University

Lesley Sawers

Businesswoman Lesley Sawers is to join Glasgow Caledonian University in the summer to head its global business development programme. Since 2008, she has been chief executive of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), representing the country’s public, private and third sectors. “Building on my extensive experience at senior levels across the public and private sectors, both in the UK and overseas, I look forward to joining ‘Team Caledonian’ to identify and secure new global opportunities for the benefit of the university, Glasgow and Scotland,” said Professor Sawers, who takes the title of vice-principal for business development. Pamela Gillies, principal and vice-chancellor of the university, said: “The university and SCDI have had a very effective partnership in recent years and I look forward very much to working even more closely with Professor Sawers.” Having taken an undergraduate degree in economics at the University of Glasgow and a PhD at the University of Stirling, Professor Sawers later became the first woman to lead the 300-year-old Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

Other changes

The National Union of Students has announced the appointment of Ben Kernighan as its next group chief executive. Currently deputy chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mr Kernighan will take up his NUS post in July.

Anglia Ruskin University has appointed two new deputy deans in the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education. Ruth Taylor and James Hampton-Till have been named deputy dean responsible for quality assurance and student engagement, and deputy dean responsible for research, respectively. Professor Taylor joins from Robert Gordon University while Professor Hampton-Till will combine his new role with his position as director of research at Anglia Ruskin’s Postgraduate Medical Institute.

McGraw-Hill Education has announced the appointment of media and information industry veteran Mark Dorman as president of McGraw-Hill Education International. Mr Dorman is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.

Anne Schwan, reader in literary studies and cultural theory at Edinburgh Napier University, has been accepted into the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland. One of 50 new members admitted last month, Dr Schwan is the first academic from her institution to be given the honour. The Young Academy brings together the country’s top young academics, entrepreneurs, artists and professionals.

Richard R. Schrock, who is Frederick G. Keyes professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the joint recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has been appointed to the Newton Abraham visiting professorship in the medical, biological and chemical sciences in the University of Oxford’s department of chemistry.

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