July 31, 2008

The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, has appointed Colin Shindler as the first professor of Israeli studies in the UK. After joining Soas in 1998, Dr Shindler built up the school's work in the field, and said this week that his promotion to chair is "a real advance" for the subject in the UK. He was editor of The Jewish Quarterly (1985-1994) and Judaism Today (1995-2000). In 1982, Dr Shindler helped found British Friends of Peace Now, Israel's peace movement, of which he continues to be a patron. He also helps to bring together Israeli and Palestinian students for courses at City University London through the Olive Tree Trust.

SQW Consulting, the economic and social development consultancy firm, has appointed Eleanor Breen as associate director. The company said that she has 25 years' experience of tackling employment and skills issues, including 13 years as a director of GHK Consulting. She has worked with the Department for Work and Pensions on a UK-wide evaluation of its New Deal for Lone Parents programme, and with the Sector Skills Development Agency.

Kate Hunter, head of communications (corporate) at Queen Mary, University of London, is to be the new executive director of Case Europe. Case is the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the professional organisation for communications, fundraising and marketing staff in education. Ms Hunter has worked at Queen Mary since 2001, and was the press and PR manager before taking up her current role. For the past two years she has been co-chair of the communications track at the Case Europe Annual Conference - a role she will continue throughout the August conference in Brighton, before taking up her new position on the Case Europe staff.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has announced the appointment of Jayne Mitchell as director of development and enhancement. She will succeed Nick Harris from October. Dr Mitchell has worked for QAA since 2003, as an assistant director in the Development and Enhancement Group, initially seconded from Staffordshire University, where she was associate dean (quality and learning development) in the faculty of Health and Sciences.

An academic from the University of Nottingham has been awarded the £1,000 Society for Applied Microbiology Communications Award 2008 for raising the profile of his applied microbiology work among the general public. After 25 years at the University of East Anglia, award winner Richard James moved to the University of Nottingham in 2000, where he is head of the School of Molecular Medical Sciences. He has lectured on the problems of healthcare-associated infections caused by Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) for more than 30 years, is a member of the Medical Research Council College of Experts, and is helping NHS colleagues develop an MRSA screening system that will be introduced in English hospitals by 2009.

A new human resources director has been appointed to the University of Cambridge. Inderjit Seehra, who is currently with the Home Office, will take up the post in September 2008. He has previously been HR director for the Crown Prosecution Service and head of the HR and customer services portfolio for the Pension Service.

At the British Academy's annual general meeting of academy fellows, Sir Adam Roberts was elected president for a four-year term, which will see him succeed Baroness Onora O'Neill next July. Some 38 new fellows were also elected to the Academy. From the University of Oxford, elected fellows included philosopher Roger Scruton, visiting senior research fellow and research professor at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, Virginia; John Blair, professor of medieval history and archaeology; Martin Browning, professor of economics; Christopher McCrudden, professor of human rights law; Linda McDowell, professor of human geography; Iain McLean, professor of politics; Peter Neary, professor of economics; Vivienne Shue, professor of the study of contemporary China; and Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology. University of Cambridge academics elected as fellows were: Julius Lipner, professor of Hinduism and the comparative study of religion; Stephen Oakley, professor of Latin; Michael O'Brien, professor of American intellectual history; Paul Julian Smith, professor of Spanish; John Tiley, professor of law of taxation; and Martin J. S. Rudwick, affiliated research scholar in the history and philosophy of science, and professor of history, University of California, San Diego. Scholars at University College London elected were Jon Driver, professor of cognitive neuroscience; Ruth Mace, professor of evolutionary anthropology; Daniel Miller, professor of anthropology; Vivian Nutton, professor of history of medicine; and Chris Frith, professor of neuropsychology at UCL and University of Aarhus. From the University of Edinburgh, Robert Hillenbrand, professor of Islamic art, and Kenneth Reid, professor of property law, were also elected. Michael Bell, professor of English and comparative literary studies and David Firth, professor of statistics, were the University of Warwick's representatives among the fellows. Other fellows announced by Baroness O'Neill were Sara Arber, professor of sociology, University of Surrey; Charles Townshend, professor of international history, Keele University; Oliver B. Linton, professor of econometrics, London School of Economics; Hugh McLeod, professor of church history, University of Birmingham; Alan Baddeley, professor of psychology, University of York; Roger Parker, professor of music, King's College London; Roberta Gilchrist, professor of medieval and social archaeology, University of Reading; Lisa Tickner, professor of art history, Middlesex University and Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London; Harald Clahsen, professor of linguistics, University of Essex; Ray Pahl, professor of sociology, University of Essex and University of Kent; Trevor Dadson, professor of Hispanic studies at the University of London; Colin Jones, professor of history, Queen Mary, University of London; Susan J. Smith, professor of geography, and Tony Wilkinson, professor of archae- ology, both of Durham University. Epidemiologist Sir Michael Marmot of University College London was elected honorary fellow.

University of Ulster lecturer Damien Coyle has won the Computational Intelligence Society Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award 2008 from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Presented at the World Congress on Computational Intelligence in Hong Kong, the award was given for Dr Coyle's thesis, Intelligent Pre-processing and Feature Extraction Techniques for a Brain-Computer Interface. "(The prize has) emphasised the importance of the research direction on which I continue to focus," he said.

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