March 6, 2008

A University of Bristol professor has been named alongside former US Vice-President Al Gore and playwright Tom Stoppard as the winner of a $1 million (£503,000) prize. Emeritus professor Geoffrey Eglinton of the university's School of Chemistry, who is a senior research fellow in earth sciences, was named as one of the three winners of this year's Dan David Prize, named after the international businessman and philanthropist. The prize is awarded in three categories: geosciences; creative rendering of the past - literature, theatre, film; and social responsibility with particular emphasis on the environment. Professor Eglinton was recognised in the geosciences category for his studies of organic chemical fossils, which reveal the inhabitants and climates of ancient worlds. The laureates donate 10 per cent of their prize money towards 20 doctoral and postdoctoral scholarships.

Two Queen's University Belfast lecturers have been recognised with an international award for their work in developing greener aeroplanes. Adrian Murphy and Mark Price have won the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' highest award for research, the Thomas Hawksley Gold Medal, for a paper on aircraft design processes. Their research over the past ten years has brought about initiatives to reduce fuel burn and emissions in new aeroplanes by developing lighter aeroplane structures with advanced welding technology.

A University of Wolverhampton academic has been ranked the number one academic in the world in his field, informetrics, the science of measuring information. Mike Thelwall, professor of information science at the School of Computing and Information Technology, was ranked first in a list of authors in the peer-reviewed Journal of Informetrics. Professor Thelwall specialises in the newest area of informetrics - namely, measuring the value of web pages. Two of his colleagues were also included in the journal's list - David Wilkinson was ranked joint 18th and Gareth Harries was joint 21st. Professor Thelwall, head of the university's Cybermetrics Research Group, is currently researching how jokes spread online around the world to see if there are differences in the sense of humour of different nations and cultures. Last year, he was named third most influential British researcher of all time in information science and librarianship in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Carol Jones has joined the University of Wolverhampton's School of Legal Studies as a professor. She joins from the University of Glamorgan, having previously worked in Hong Kong and as a visiting fellow at the Australian National University.

Years spent documenting endangered languages have earned an award for Irina Nikolaeva of the endangered languages academic programme in the department of linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She has been awarded the 2008 Humanity Award by the Wings WorldQuest foundation, whose "mission is to celebrate and to support extraordinary women explorers by promoting scientific exploration, education and conservation". Dr Nikolaeva's work has focused most notably on the Kolyma Yukaghir dialect, which is presently spoken by about 40 people in North-East Siberia.

Roman Alexander Tomasic, former research professor in the School of Law and head of the city campus at Victoria University (Melbourne), has joined Durham University as chair in company law. Professor Tomasic was instrumental in the establishment of law schools at Victoria and at the University of Canberra.

John Latham has been promoted to the role of deputy vice-chancellor at Southampton Solent University. In addition to deputising for vice-chancellor Van Gore, his role includes specific responsibility for recruitment, planning "and the university's overall resource position", Southampton Solent said in a statement. Professor Latham had been pro vice-chancellor, resources, since 2003, and was previously dean of Southampton Business School.

Richard Canavan has joined the University of Hull's Law School as a lecturer from the University of Sheffield, where he worked as a part-time tutor.

The University of Worcester has appointed the UK's first professor of tissue viability. Biomedical scientist Richard White, whose area of expertise covers all aspects of wound management, will share his time between Worcester and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where he is a senior research fellow.

The Quality Assurance Agency has appointed the first student as a full member of its governing board. Will Haywood is academic affairs executive at Sheffield Hallam University's student union. Sam Younger, QAA chairman, said: "Will's appointment is an important step ... underlining QAA's commitment to listening and responding to the student voice." Mr Haywood said: "At Sheffield Hallam I've been involved in work on engaging students in quality processes and ... am looking forward to playing my part in improving the engagement between students and the QAA."

Staffordshire University has hired a former senior executive of private health provider BUPA as its director of sales and student recruitment. Cathy Gilbert, an economics graduate with an MBA from Warwick Business School, said she expected to play a vital role in understanding the needs of students. "It's an interesting and exciting role and I'm looking forward to working with our diverse community of learners," she said.

Navigant Consulting, a firm specialising in advising organisations "facing the challenges of uncertainty, risk, distress and significant change", has appointed Jan Parnell as an associate director in its public services practice. She will take charge of the company's work in schools, colleges and universities, and joins from the London Borough of Ealing, where her responsibilities included managing the AimHigher widening participation project.

The National Association of Writers in Education has elected its inaugural higher education management group. The group is chaired by Graeme Harper of Bangor University, and his deputy is Steve May of Bath Spa University. The committee members are Helena Blakemore of the University of East London; Andrew Holland of Norwich School of Art and Design; Nigel McLoughlin of the University of Gloucestershire; Graham Mort of Lancaster University; and Robert Sheppard of Edge Hill University.

Canterbury Christ Church University. Hazel Colyer has been appointed dean of the faculty of health and social care. She was formerly director of inter-professional education. The university has appointed Marco Keir director of marketing. He was formerly assistant head of service for culture and communications at Canterbury City Council.

At Robert Gordon University, Emmanuelle Rey has been appointed a lecturer in human resource management at the Aberdeen Business School. Adrian Sahota has taken up the post of lead systems engineer in the university’s IT services department.

University of Greenwich. Alan Powers has been awarded an honorary fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects in recognition of his contribution to architectural history and the conservation of 20th-century architecture.

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