February 28, 2008

The French Government has recognised a Thames Valley University professor's contribution to the country's culinary arts. David Foskett, an associate dean at TVU's London School of Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure, has received France's Agricultural Order of Merit (grade de chevalier dans l'ordre du merite agricole) for his work promoting French food and food education. Professor Foskett is a member of the Academy of Culinary Arts and has worked in the hospitality industry for over 40 years, while his career with TVU stretches back three decades.

Rosemary Hollis, director of research at foreign policy think-tank Chatham House, is to join City University London as director of its Olive Tree Israeli-Palestinian scholarship programme. The initiative enables young Israelis and Palestinians to study for degrees at City University and is designed to develop participants to act as ambassadors for reconciliation in their region. Dr Hollis has spent the past 13 years at Chatham House, including ten years as head of its Middle East programme.

David Martin, adjunct professor of religious studies at Liverpool Hope University, has been elected a fellow of the British Academy. He has had a distinguished academic career in which, according to his university, "he has daringly fused the sociology of religion and Christian theology, to the bemusement and occasional disapproval of his many secular academic colleagues in the social sciences". Professor Martin spent most of his academic career at the London School of Economics, and was the school's only sociology department head to have taken holy orders. He was a columnist for the Times Higher Education Supplement in the 1970s.

An inventor and Bournemouth University graduate has returned to the university in a move to further develop ideas into commercial success stories. Philip Robinson has joined Bournemouth's Centre for Research and Knowledge Transfer, and he will work with current students and recent graduates to explore the potential for commercialising new concepts and products. As an undergraduate, Mr Robinson invented the BioLogic ZorinPump, a bicycle pump that fits into a bicycle's seat post. The invention was subsequently licensed to Dahon, a manufacturer of folding bicycles.

Mick Fuller is the new honorary secretary of the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE). Professor Fuller, head of the graduate school at the University of Plymouth, will succeed outgoing honorary secretary Stuart Powell of the University of Hertfordshire, who is retiring. UKCGE chairman Malcolm McCrae said the postgraduate landscape was "rapidly changing" as a result of the Bologna Process to harmonise degree programmes across Europe. "It will be very useful to have an experienced graduate school chair as part of the core executive team," he said.

Kate Dunn of the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences at Keele University as been awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship worth £586,110 over five years. The fellowship is for a project that will look at how patients' families influence their health. It includes a six-month spell at the Center for Health Studies in Seattle.

Martin Caraher, reader in food and health policy at City University London, is at Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia for four weeks as its Healthway visiting fellow. Dr Caraher has spent February in Perth working with staff from the School of Public Health at Curtin and the University of Western Australia. Each year the Western Australian health promotion organisation Healthway appoints a visiting fellow to assist with health promotion activities.

Work towards finding new clean energy sources has earned an award for a lecturer at the University of Hull. Jeremy Dunning-Davies, senior lecturer in physics, has won a gold medal from the Santilli-Gaililei Association, which was set up to support the search for alternative fuels. Dr Dunning-Davies was recognised for his work in thermodynamics and hadronic mechanics, an extension of quantum physics. He said: "I'm a bit overwhelmed to have been given this honour ... I shall endeavour to continue my research in this area in order to help find cleaner fuels."

Will Percival, a cosmologist at the University of Portsmouth, has been awarded a European Research Council grant worth more than £600,000 - one of three awards he has picked up in as many months. The senior research fellow in the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) was recently awarded the Fowler Prize for Astronomy, which recognises UK early-career researchers, and in November 2007 he won a Philip Leverhulme Prize for Astrophysics worth £70,000. Roy Maartens, director of the ICG, said: "To sweep all three prizes in the same year is phenomenal recognition."

Brendan Casey, director of information services and libraries at City University London, has been appointed director of academic services at the University of Birmingham. His career spans roles at City University London, Cardiff University, the London School of Economics and the law firm Theodore Goddard. He starts his post at Birmingham in May.

Devi Putra has joined the medical engineering team at the University of Hull as a research assistant from Coventry University. Simon Hart has joined the Hull York Medical School as a senior lecturer, from the University of Edinburgh. Christian Langton has left Hull's medical physics department and has emigrated to Brisbane in Australia, where he joins Queensland University of Technology as professor of medical physics.

Mary Nolan has become the UK's first professor of perinatal education at the University of Worcester. Professor Nolan is a specialist in antenatal care, specifically the perinatal period, which covers the period of care for baby, mother and family immediately before and after birth. The university said that her appointment reflects its "ongoing commitment to nursing and midwifery at a time when Britain faces a serious shortage of midwives" and when England's live birth rates have reached a 26-year high (635,679 in 2006).

An architect who transformed the Young Vic and Royal Court theatres is joining a London university. Steve Tompkins, a director of architecture studio Haworth Tompkins, this month joins the University of Greenwich's School of Architecture and Construction as a visiting professor.

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