March 26, 2009

Petra Wend is to become the next principal of Queen Margaret University when Anthony Cohen retires at the end of the academic year. Currently deputy vice-chancellor (academic) and deputy chief executive at Oxford Brookes University, Dr Wend has also held senior positions at Middlesex University and the former University of North London, now London Metropolitan University. She is a member of the Society of Renaissance Studies.

A former fashion designer to the rich and famous has been made a professor by the London College of Fashion. Helen Storey, whose clients included Cher and Madonna, will take on the role of co-director for the college's Centre for Fashion Science and will follow a green agenda. Professor Storey said: "Any educational institution involved in training the next generation of fashion designers ... has a responsibility to equip their graduates with the skills necessary to make this planet sustainable."

John Brookfield, evolutionary geneticist at the University of Nottingham, dressed up as Charles Darwin - complete with facial hair grown for the occasion - to deliver a lecture during the university's Darwin 200 celebration on 14 March. As part of Nottingham's celebration of National Science and Engineering Week, and to mark the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, Professor Brookfield outlined ideas from On The Origin of Species, presenting Darwin's theory of natural selection as the main driving force behind evolution.

An internationally renowned airbrush artist, Andy Penaluna, will help to develop the next generation of British business leaders as a member of the board of directors of Enterprise Educators UK. Dr Penaluna, an art and design lecturer at Swansea Metropolitan University, was elected to the position of assistant vice-chairman after a ballot that involved more than 90 UK universities. The government-backed body aims to help universities develop more "innovative and enterprising" students.

The University of Gloucestershire's vice-chancellor is to advise the Government in its review of health inequalities in England. Patricia Broadfoot has accepted an invitation to be commissioner of the Marmot Review, which will contribute to the development of the Department of Health's post-2010 health inequalities strategy.

Roehampton University has appointed Jonathan Horner to the new full-time post of environmental manager, as part of plans to develop its green credentials. Having promoted environmental initiatives at the institution for 25 years, Dr Horner joins its recently restructured department of property and facilities management, where he will be responsible for introducing carbon reduction projects and raising environmental awareness throughout the university.

Vic Emery has been appointed chair of the Glasgow Campus project, which will use more than £300 million in funding to create a super-campus for students of the Central, Metropolitan and Nautical Studies further education colleges. Mr Emery will be responsible for delivering what will be one of the UK's biggest education infrastructure projects. A former head of BAE Systems Surface Fleet Solutions, he was responsible for transforming the Scotstoun and Govan shipyards, where he increased turnover from £300 million to £2.2 billion during his five years in charge.

An academic from the University of Warwick has been named Law Teacher of the Year 2009. Gary Watt, an associate professor, was awarded the accolade after a gruelling selection process spread over several months, which included observations of his teaching and interviews with students. He said: "Teaching keeps you honest; you cannot teach without passion. For me it is much more than giving information to my students. I want them to be inspired by what they are learning."

David Thomas, professor of marine biology at Bangor University, has been selected by the Academy of Finland as one of 12 distinguished international professors. Under the scheme, Professor Thomas will team up with Finnish academics, using a EUR990,000 (£932,000) grant to study the impact of human activity on all aspects of sea life, including melting glaciers that have led to water draining from high land into the Baltic, a development that poses an environmental threat to Finland.

Jonathan Montgomery, professor of healthcare law at the University of Southampton, has been named chairman of the Human Genetics Commission (HGC). The HGC is a group of experts from fields such as clinical and research genetics, as well as consumer affairs, ethics and law, and reports to health and science ministers in Westminster and to the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The commission has also appointed several new members. They are: Timothy Aitman, professor of clinical and molecular genetics, Imperial College London; Thomas Baldwin, professor of philosophy, the University of York; Nicola Drury, genetic education facilitator, the NHS National Genetics Education and Development Centre, East Midlands region; Anneke Lucassen, professor of clinical genetics, the University of Southampton; Duncan McHale, vice-president for translational science, AstraZeneca; and Alastair Kent, director, the Genetic Interest Group.

Two academics appointed to Cranfield University's Centre for Resource Management and Efficiency will bolster the institution's expertise in the areas of waste and resource management. Fabio Chinaglia, an environmental microbiologist, will focus on the development of new tools to sustain engineered biological treatment plants. Simon Collinson, a chartered chemist, will continue his research into catalysts for recycling and waste processes, such as forming new materials from waste plastics.

A Marie Curie Fellowship has been awarded to Daniella Tilbury, professor of sustainability at the University of Gloucestershire. After nominations were invited from across Europe, Professor Tilbury won one of the fellowships, which will fund interdisciplinary research teams and projects in sustainability. The award is worth EUR240,000 (£226,000). Professor Tilbury said: "Given the current financial climate and cuts in research budgets, such awards play a critical role in sustaining quality research. The awards also recognise the increasing importance of sustainable development as an interdisciplinary research field." The Marie Curie Fellowships were set up to recognise internationally leading researchers and scientists and to "promote excellence in European research".

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