November 19, 2009

Roger Kain, deputy vice-chancellor for research and knowledge transfer at the University of Exeter, has been named dean and chief executive at the University of London's School of Advanced Study. Professor Kain is an expert on the history of maps and mapping, and has published several award-winning books and managed seven research projects on the subject. He will take up his new post in April 2010.

The Robert Gordon University has appointed Dorothy Williams director of its new Institute for Management, Governance and Society. The institute will cover research themes in areas such as business and enterprise, information and communication, and governance and society, building on existing work at the university's Aberdeen Business School.

Sarah Cook has taken over as director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). Dr Cook is a specialist in social reform in China, having spent 12 years working in the country, and has published widely as a development economist and social policy expert. She joins from the University of Sussex's Institute of Development Studies, and is the first Briton to head the UNRISD.

Keith Moffatt, emeritus professor of mathematical physics at the University of Cambridge, has been honoured for services to mathematics and to the mathematics community. Professor Moffatt was presented with the 2009 David Crighton Medal by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and the London Mathematical Society. He received the award for his contributions to fluid dynamics and mathematical modelling, and for his leadership of mathematical organisations during his 50-year career.

A professor at Northwestern University, Illinois, has joined an organisation set up by the University of Southampton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to encourage participation in the development of web science. Noshir Contractor, the Jane S. & William J. White professor of behavioural sciences at Northwestern, is now a director of the Web Science Trust. Other directors include: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, professor of engineering at MIT and professor of computer science at Southampton; Dame Wendy Hall, professor of computer science at Southampton; and Nigel Shadbolt, professor of artificial intelligence at Southampton.

Durham University's Darren Grocke has been made chief executive editor of the open-access journal Solid Earth. The publication covers research on the composition, structure and dynamics of the Earth. Dr Grocke, a reader in the department of earth sciences at Durham, is also president of the European Geosciences Union division on stratigraphy, sedimentology and palaeontology.

A leading materials science researcher and former director of knowledge exchange for the Science and Technology Facilities Council has been appointed director of research and enterprise at the University of Huddersfield. Liz Towns-Andrews, who was a key figure in the design and commission of instrumentation for researchers in materials science, replaces Denise Downs, who has moved on to a role with the National Health Service's Connecting to Health project.

David Lammy, the Higher Education Minister, has announced the appointment of four new members to the board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. They are: Madeleine Atkins, vice-chancellor of Coventry University; Ruth Farwell, vice-chancellor of Bucks New University; Shirley Pearce, vice-chancellor of Loughborough University; and Anil Ruia, director of Wrengate, a privately owned group of companies. Along with existing board members, they will have responsibility for developing Hefce's policies and guiding its projects and programmes.

Philip Shaw has taken up a post as lecturer in English language and Old English at the University of Leicester, moving from the University of Sheffield. Dr Shaw's research interests focus on Old English and related languages, and on paganism in North Western Europe in the early Middle Ages. He recently completed a revision of Charles Barber's The English Language: A Historical Introduction with Joan Beal, director of Sheffield's National Centre for English Cultural Tradition.

In other appointments at Leicester, Tim Skelton has been named manager at the Biomedical Research Unit at Glenfield Hospital, taking charge of financial, operational and managerial matters. The unit is a £5.5 million national research centre for heart disease, funded by the National Institute of Health Research at Leicester and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. It is expected to become fully operational in March 2010. Also at Leicester, Emma Kimberley joins the David Wilson Library as research forum facilitator. The new post has been created as part of a strategy to help support the university's postgraduate research community. Dr Kimberley will assist in the development of a research information forum, providing a meeting place, both online and in the library, to facilitate discussion and the exchange of ideas among researchers.

An academic from University College London has been presented with the University of Cambridge's highest degree, doctor of social science. Christopher Clack, director of financial computing, has worked at UCL for 25 years, and is known for his prizewinning contributions to genetic and evolutionary computing in finance. He was honoured by Cambridge for his contribution to computer science.

An academic from Queen Mary, University of London, has been presented with an international prize for books on history. Lisa Jardine, centenary professor of Renaissance studies in the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, was awarded the 2009 Cundill International Prize in History for Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland's Glory, which examines the realities of foreign occupation in 17th-century Britain. She received prize money of $75,000 (£45,250) for her work, which the judges selected for its "exceptional scholarship, written quality, original presentation and broad accessibility".

An expert in design and innovation has been recruited by Cranfield University. Daniel Steenstra joins as Royal Academy of Engineering visiting professor in innovation, a role that will focus on healthcare technology. He will be involved in developing the Open-Source Medical Innovation Initiative at Cranfield, which aims to shape the way inventions in medical equipment are developed, with a view to producing life-saving apparatus faster and for less money.

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