April 10, 2008

The University of Sunderland has appointed Shirley Atkinson deputy vice-chancellor. Ms Atkinson, who is executive director of finance and resources at Nexus, will be joining the university in May. She is a chartered public finance accountant who has held senior roles with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, working with a number of public bodies in an advisory capacity. She said: "I am thrilled to be joining the university and look forward to helping build upon the success it has already achieved. It is an exciting and challenging time for higher education and it will be a privilege to be part of the executive team managing those challenges and opportunities to ensure the university maintains its reputation as an innovative and forward-thinking organisation."

An academic from the University of Cumbria has been invited to join a research team studying the support and advice offered to cancer patients when they return to work. Stuart Whitaker, a senior lecturer in occupational health, will be working with a team at the Macmillan Research Unit at the University of Manchester to help produce guidelines for employers, line managers, occupational health services and patients. In a recent study one in five cancer patients reported that their job satisfaction and career prospects had deteriorated following their return to work.

Physicist Bob Cywinski is joining the University of Huddersfield as the first of 20 new professorial appointments designed to boost the institution's research output and reputation. Professor Cywinski will join Huddersfield's School of Applied Sciences in September. He is currently head of condensed matter and pro dean for research in mathematics and physical sciences at the University of Leeds, where he uses a technique called neutron scattering to study properties of materials. Huddersfield's dean of applied sciences Robert Smith said: "During the past year, applied sciences has attracted a top pharmacist from Bradford University in Professor Henry Chrystyn and now an eminent physicist from Leeds in Bob Cywinski. We already have excellent teaching and this is underpinned by the excellent research of scientists at the top of their professions."

Gemma Calvert has been appointed chair of applied neuroimaging at the University of Warwick. Professor Calvert was formerly a reader in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Bath and prior to that, head of the multisensory research group at the University of Oxford. She will work in WMG, an academic department of the university dedicated to finding solutions to industry problems, in the new Warwick Digital Lab specialising in neuromarketing.

The University of Salford has appointed built environment and construction IT expert Ghassan Aouad as pro vice-chancellor for research and innovation. The professor is an expert in civil engineering and construction and is currently dean of the faculty of business, law and the built environment. He said: "My focus will be on creating a culture where every member of staff has the opportunity to engage in research and innovation activities, and to ensure that postgraduate research students enjoy the best possible experience at Salford. I'd like to see research being used in a smarter way to create effective spin-out companies and knowledge transfer projects. Salford is already in the top third of UK universities for research. My aim is to help build on this and I'm very much looking forward to the challenges ahead."

David Vilaseca, professor of Hispanic studies at Royal Holloway, University of London, has been awarded the 2007 Octubre Prize for Catalan fiction for his novel L'aprenentatge de la soledat (The Apprenticeship of Solitude). The Octubre awards are given annually by the Ausias March Foundation and publisher Editorial 3 i 4 in Valencia, and have been running for 36 years. L'aprenentatge de la soledat traces the life of a young man in a foreign land during a crucial and tempestuous decade. Professor Vilaseca said: "I had hoped that my novel would be published, but to be given such a distinguished award for it on top of that was far beyond my expectations."

Diane Houston has been appointed dean of the University of Kent's new graduate school. Professor Houston, a social psychologist, is currently dean of the department of psychology at Kent. In 2003-07 she worked as an adviser to the ministers for women and equality (Patricia Hewitt, Jacqui Smith, Tessa Jowell and Megg Munn) in the former Department of Trade and Industry. She will take up her new role in July.

Sir Kenneth Calman, former Chief Medical Officer for England (1991-98) and before that the CMO for Scotland, has been appointed chair of the National Cancer Research Institute. Professor Calman takes up the post with immediate effect. He takes over from Mike Richards, who steps down after two years. Professor Richards will continue to be a member of the NCRI board. The institute consists of 20 government and charity partners as well as the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. It was set up in 2001 to facilitate joint planning for cancer research. In total, NCRI partners have an annual spend on cancer research exceeding £400 million. In his role as England's CMO, Professor Calman coauthored a report recommending the restructuring of cancer services to improve treatment outcomes and reduce inequalities. The report was the precursor of the Government's Cancer Plan.

The University of Leeds faculty of biological sciences has appointed Carola Hunte professor of membrane biology. Professor Hunte, who comes from the Max-Planck-Institute of Biophysics in Germany, took up her position full time this week. She will join the Institute of Membrane and Systems Biology. "Carola's appointment is a genuine coup for Leeds," said Steve Baldwin, leader of the Integrative Membrane Biology Research Group. "She's an internationally renowned researcher and one of a handful of people worldwide to have solved the problem of determining the detailed structure of a membrane protein. Her expertise adds crucial weight to the faculty's strengths." Membrane proteins are an increasingly important target for the pharmaceutical industry's drug development research programmes, he added.

The Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation at the Said Business School has appointed Clemens Fuest as research director. Professor Fuest, who will take up his post in October, is currently one of the centre's international research fellows. Michael Devereux, director of the centre, said: "As one of the leading young economists in Europe, and as one of the leading thinkers in the field of taxation, Clemens Fuest brings a remarkable research output and authority in contributions to tax policy."

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