March 19, 2009

The head of Goldsmiths, University of London, has announced that he will step down next year. Geoffrey Crossick joined the institution as warden in 2005, having been chief executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Board. He was previously professor of history and pro vice-chancellor (academic development) at the University of Essex, and specialises in the social history of Britain and Europe in the 19th and early 20th century. He said: "I shall be leaving ... because there is much that I would like to contribute in various parts of public life: to the cultural, arts and museum sectors, to higher education and to policymaking. I shall be seeking opportunities to play an active role in areas such as these." Christopher Jonas, chair of the Goldsmiths council, paid tribute to his work: "He will leave a significant legacy after five successful years leading the college."

Mark Kearney has become director of clinical cardiovascular research at the Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of Leeds. The centre will bring together expertise from the university and teaching hospitals across Leeds to develop new approaches in the treatment of heart disease. Professor Kearney said: "Centres of excellence in the National Health Service should be delivering world-class care to patients, underpinned by excellence in teaching, research and innovation."

Two academics have been named joint winners of a prize that will help them to communicate their research to people outside the academy. The 2009 Michael Young Prize, named after the founder of the Economic and Social Research Council, was awarded to Carol Grayson and Mark Reed, two early-career researchers whose work was judged to offer new insights in their fields. Ms Grayson's research focuses on UK blood policy from the 1960s onwards and its impact on haemophiliacs. Dr Reed has looked at the impact of climate change on communities in regions with low annual rainfall and its implications for the global food supply. Their findings have helped shape policy in the UK and Africa.

More than 40 new UK and international fellows have been elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. They will be involved in providing policy advice to the Government, outreach education programmes and other public engagement activities. The new fellows based at UK higher education institutions are: Paul Beaumont, professor of European Union and private international law, University of Aberdeen; Henry Burns, honorary professor, University of Glasgow; James Cassidy, professor of oncology, University of Glasgow; James Clark, professor of organic chemistry, University of Glasgow; Leroy Cronin, professor of chemistry, University of Glasgow; Owen Dudley Edwards, honorary fellow, University of Edinburgh; Douglas Dunn, professor of English, University of St Andrews; Tom Farmer, chancellor, Queen Margaret University; Maria Ferreira, head of psychology, University of Edinburgh; Robert Furness, professor of seabird and fishing interactions, University of Glasgow; Christopher Glasbey, honorary and visiting professor, Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh; Susan Hart, professor of marketing, University of Strathclyde; Alan Heavens, professor of theoretical astrophysics, University of Edinburgh; David Hume, professor of mammalian functional genomics, University of Edinburgh; Jack Jackson, visiting professor, University of Strathclyde; Irene Leigh, professor of cellular and molecular medicine, University of Dundee; Ulf Leonhardt, chair in theoretical physics, University of St Andrews; Ronald McCaffer, professor of construction management, Loughborough University; Ian Main, professor of seismology and rock physics, University of Edinburgh; Jean Manson, head of the neuro- pathogenesis division, University of Edinburgh; David Newby, professor of cardiology, University of Edinburgh; Oliver O'Donovan, professor of Christian ethics and practical theology, University of Edinburgh; Tom Owen-Hughes, professor of chromatin structure and function, University of Dundee; Massimo Palmarini, chair of molecular pathogenesis, University of Glasgow; Tracy Palmer, professor of molecular microbiology, University of Dundee; Nicholas Roe, professor of English, University of St Andrews; Mark Schaffer, professor of economics, Heriot-Watt University; Padma Shukla, visiting professor at the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance, University of Strathclyde; Peter Smith, professor of soils and global change, University of Aberdeen; Agata Smoktunowicz, professor of algebra, University of Edinburgh; Tomoyuki Tanaka, professor of cell and molecular biology, University of Dundee; Michael Tyers, professor of systems biology, University of Edinburgh; Richard Warburton, professor of physics, Heriot-Watt University; Marian Wiercigroch, research chair in applied dynamics, University of Aberdeen; and Alison Yarrington, Richmond chair of fine art, University of Glasgow.

At Heriot-Watt University, Simon Stewart has been named the new head of the Institute of Petroleum Engineering. Having worked as a senior geophysicist in Baku and Azerbaijan, he has published more than 40 papers on a variety of geoscientific issues, such as impact craters and the disposal of nuclear waste. Also at Heriot-Watt, Paul Jowitt has been elected president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He joined the university in 1987 after a spell as a lecturer at his alma mater, Imperial College London.

In a first for the UK, Cardiff University has created a chair to drive forward research in healthcare improvement and patient care. Jonathon Gray will take up the chair in healthcare improvement, a collaboration between Cardiff's School of Medicine, its School of Social Sciences and the Wales Centre for Health. The chair is a multidisciplinary position that allows Professor Gray to bring together healthcare research in both schools. "It enables the university to improve its research capacity and will provide a lead, help support policy and improve evidence-based medicine," Professor Gray said.

Simon Pollard, professor of waste and environmental risk at Cranfield University, has been selected as director of the Collaborative Centre of Excellence in Managing and Understanding Environmental Risk. The Cranfield-based centre will provide research to help ensure that society is resilient to the increasing threat of climate change and its associated environmental risks, such as flooding and animal and plant disease.

The South African Government has called on a University of Wolverhampton academic to help develop e-learning technologies. John Traxler, reader in mobile technology for e-learning, has been appointed visiting scientist at the Meraka Institute, the government agency responsible for providing e-learning tools for schools in deprived rural areas and children who are outside the education system. By using software developed by the community that is freely available to all, the institute hopes to preserve African languages and culture.

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