December 17, 2009

An academic who has contributed to investigations of major oil industry disasters - including the fire on the Piper Alpha rig in the North Sea that killed more than 100 people in 1988 - has been made deputy rector of Imperial College London. Stephen Richardson, who is an alumnus of the institution, will also continue in his role as principal of the faculty of engineering. He has been at Imperial for more than 30 years, and his research focuses on methods to improve safety in the oil and gas industries.

University College London has announced two appointments to its senior management team. Stephen Caddick, director of the Centre for Chemical Biology at UCL, will become vice-provost (enterprise) following Mike Spyer's retirement in May 2010. Professor Caddick will take responsibility for raising the profile of UCL's entrepreneurial activities and promoting further industry collaborations. Anthony Finkelstein, head of UCL's computer science department, will take on the role of dean of engineering sciences. Professor Finkelstein is the winner of the 2009 UCL Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, and has worked on two UCL spin-off companies. He will take over from Bernard Buxton.

York St John University has appointed a new vice-chancellor. As reported on timeshighereducation., David Fleming, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Sunderland, will become York St John's second leader when Dianne Willcocks steps down in April 2010. Professor Fleming worked in the commercial sector prior to moving into higher education, and has previously held posts as dean of the School of the Built Environment at Northumbria University and senior lecturer and principal lecturer at Nottingham Trent University. He will take up the new position in June.

Sally Fincher, professor of computing education at the University of Kent, has received an award for her contributions to the field. She is the first British academic to win the US' Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education Award for 30 years. Professor Fincher is leader of Kent's Computing Education Research Group, co-editor of the Journal of Computer Science Education and a member of the Journal of Engineering Education's advisory board.

Also at the University of Kent, Crosbie Smith, professor of the history of science, has been presented with an international prize for his work. He was awarded the Abbott Payson Usher Prize by the Society for the History of Technology with co-author Anne Scott for their article "Trust in Providence: Building Confidence into the Cunard Line of Steamers". The article was deemed to be the best published by the society in the past three years.

An academic from the University of Bristol has been named Dentist Teacher of the Year. Susan Hooper, consultative senior lecturer at Bristol's Dental School, was handed the title by the Dental Defence Union. Ms Hooper was nominated for the award by students.

The head of learning and teaching at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Heather Fry, has been appointed director of education and participation at the organisation. In her current role, Ms Fry worked on policy development and implementation in areas including quality assurance and teaching-funding policy. She began her career in Nigeria, and has previously held positions at the Institute of Education, Queen Mary, University of London and Imperial College London.

The University of Edinburgh's Adele Marston has been selected as one of Europe's most promising young researchers by the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO). Dr Marston, who leads a team of researchers studying cell division at Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, was presented with the EMBO Young Investigators Award, along with 16 other academics from across Europe. Each will receive academic, practical and financial help from the organisation as they seek to set up their first independent research laboratories.

An expert on fire safety in the design and engineering of buildings has been named vice-president and dean of the faculty of engineering and physical sciences at the University of Manchester. Colin Bailey, professor of structural engineering, has authored about 100 research papers and books. He previously worked in industry, where he was involved in the research and design of a number of major building projects.

An academic from King's College London has been honoured for his achievements in "education design". Paul Black, emeritus professor of science education, was awarded a $10,000 (£6,140) annual award by the International Society for Design and Development in Education. He led the design of the assessment system for the UK's National Curriculum while chair of the Task Group on Assessment and Testing, and also launched the movement to exploit formative-assessment methods to improve learning.

The dean of the University of Ulster's Business School has been named the next chair of the British Academy of Management. Marie McHugh was elected to the academy's's council in 2004 and has been involved in building management research capacity at the organisation. She will take up the position in January 2010.

Philip van der Eijk, professor of Greek at Newcastle University, has become the first-ever candidate from the humanities to be awarded the Alexander von Humboldt professorship. He will join the Humboldt University of Berlin in January 2010, where he will direct a large-scale research programme on the history of medicine in the Classical world.

Jon Gluyas has been appointed professor of geo-energy, carbon capture and storage at Durham University's newly created Durham Energy Institute. A specialist in the sedimentology and geochemistry used in oil and gas exploration and production, Professor Gluyas will also take over the chairmanship of the British Geological Survey board from Derek Davis, who has retired.

A businessman and alumnus of Queen Mary, University of London has pledged £3 million for a scholarship scheme to help poor students. Naim Dangoor, who studied engineering at Queen Mary in the 1930s, has put up the cash to give talented students the opportunity to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at 1994 Group and Russell Group universities.

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