June 11, 2009

John Lawton has been appointed chief executive officer for the Yorkshire and Humber division of the Open College Network, an awarding body for credit-based courses and qualifications. His career history includes time spent as regional development officer for the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education's Yorkshire and Humber region. Prior to that he was head of equality, diversity and project funding at Ufi, the company behind learndirect, the online and work-based training organisation.

Three new members have been appointed to the Technology Strategy Board, the government-funded body that invests in business-led research and development. They are: Sara Murray, founder of the management consulting group Ninah Consulting, which has worked with firms including GlaxoSmithKline and Coca-Cola; Stewart Davies, who has 20 years' experience of working in general management and strategy roles, and is currently strategy director of Serco Integrated Services; and Christopher Snowden, vice-chancellor and chief executive of the University of Surrey. The trio will join John Brown, Anne Glover, Nick Buckland and Joseph Feczko, who have been reappointed to the board.

The University of Surrey has appointed Nigel Seaton as senior deputy vice-chancellor following John Turner's retirement last month. Professor Seaton began his career with roles at WS Atkins and BP Research before moving into academia via a lectureship in chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge. He has since held a number of senior management roles in the academy: before joining Surrey last September he was vice-principal (academic) at the University of Edinburgh.

A former banking executive has been named deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire. Paul Bowler will take responsibility for the university's business operations. Before moving into higher education, Mr Bowler held positions at NatWest Markets and Greenwich Capital Markets. He was most recently based at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, where he was deputy vice-chancellor and chief operating officer. He will take responsibility for Gloucestershire's estates, information technology, finance, human resources and sustainability operations.

The University of Leeds has appointed Mary-Anne Ansell as executive director of the Language Centre in its School of Modern Languages and Cultures. She was previously head of the International Centre for English Language Studies at Oxford Brookes University, where she was also deputy head of the School of Languages.

Alan Thorpe, chief executive of the Natural Environment Research Council, will take over from Ian Diamond as chair of the Research Councils UK Executive Group in October 2009. RCUK represents the UK's seven research councils, enabling them to work collectively to meet the Government's objectives for science and innovation.

The body responsible for allocating funding to Welsh universities has appointed a senior manager from the University of Glamorgan to its learning and teaching committee. Julie Lydon, pro vice-chancellor (academic development) at the institution, will advise the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales on its policies for promoting teaching excellence and enhancing the student learning experience. Her research interests are in the fields of organisational change and collaboration within higher education, and she possesses significant management experience in these areas.

Mikhail Leonidovich Gromov, permanent professor at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in France, has been awarded the Abel Prize for his contributions to geometry. The honour is the closest equivalent to the Nobel Prize in mathematics. Brian Davies, president of the London Mathematical Society, of which Professor Gromov is an honorary member, said: "His influence goes far beyond the boundaries of his own field, and is likely to be even more important in future. He brings a profoundly original approach, often analysing basic, sometimes seemingly naive questions, for which he creates a whole new language and theory."

Basketball in schools will receive a boost from a new book by a sports lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton. Nick O'Leary, course leader and senior lecturer in physical education, has been approached by England Basketball, the national governing body for the sport, to write a book to help sports teachers deliver basketball lessons. The Foundation for Teachers book will aim to help teachers deliver basketball as part of the new national curriculum for physical education. Mr O'Leary has also been asked to deliver a number of national workshops for experienced coaches to update their knowledge of the sport's theoretical side.

The watchdog responsible for resolving higher education student complaints has appointed a new member to its board of directors. Ram Gidoomal will become chair of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, taking over from Norman Gowar, who has held the position since the OIA's inception in 2004. He was previously chair of the Employability Forum, which helps refugees find employment, and has also held non-executive roles at Imperial College London and St George's, University of London.

Ralph Wilde, reader and vice-dean for research at University College London, has been honoured with a prize for a book on law. International Territorial Administration: How Trusteeship and the Civilizing Mission Never Went Away was awarded the American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit, a leading prize for books in this field. Dr Wilde received one of three annual prizes in a category honouring work in a specialised area, and joins only a handful of Britons awarded the accolade in its 60-year history.

An academic from the Glasgow School of Art has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in honour of his creativity in the arts. Thomas Joshua Cooper, professor and senior researcher in fine art at the institution, was awarded the cash prize from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The organisation, established by Senator Simon Guggenheim in memory of his son, has a remit to further the development of scholars and artists. Professor Cooper will use the money to support the completion of a photographic project that will see him travel around North America's Atlantic seaboard. He has been working on the project for the past 19 years, in which time he has photographed the land masses surrounding the Atlantic Basin.

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