May 20, 2010

Scottish Funding Council

Paul Hagan

Paul Hagan's career has seen him go from Glasgow to Gambia and back again. Professor Hagan, who has been named the Scottish Funding Council's new director of research and innovation, grew up on the outskirts of Scotland's largest city and studied for his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of Glasgow. Upon gaining his PhD, he was offered a position with the Medical Research Council in Gambia to study parasitic infections. He admitted that he had some trepidation on making such a big move. "My only previous excursion from the UK had been a quick trip to Paris, so it was quite a step to take," he said. Professor Hagan described his seven years in Gambia as "fantastic" and encouraged others to travel in the name of research. "You don't actually know what it's like until you go there and experience things for yourself," he said. Professor Hagan said that although the nightlife in the country left a lot to be desired, he was able to indulge his passion for sports and "couldn't have asked for a better postdoc". Professor Hagan moved to the National Institute for Medical Research in London before returning to Glasgow to take up a position at his alma mater. He rose through the ranks to become dean of the Faculty of Biomedical and Life Sciences and said that his experience in administration helped. "I don't think administration is rocket science, it's about engaging with people and supporting them." One of Professor Hagan's aims in his new role at the SFC is to get Scottish universities to pool their talent and research to enhance their world-leading work. He said: "In the challenging times ahead, universities need to hold their nerve and realise the value of their research and innovation and nurture their people."

University of Cambridge

Chris Tyler

The new executive director of the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge has come full circle in his career, which began with a PhD at the institution. Chris Tyler joins the centre after spending a month in New Zealand working with the government's chief scientific adviser, which he described as "good work if you can get it". Dr Tyler said he knew early on in life that a traditional academic career was not for him. "I realised after six months of starting my PhD that I didn't want to be an academic," he said. "I didn't have the patience, I wanted to make a difference and have influence straight away, and academics tend to build that over a career." Instead, Dr Tyler joined what was then a fledgling charity, Sense about Science, helping to build a contact base for the organisation and working on various campaigns. From there, he went to work for the Science and Technology Select Committee, and was the only member of staff to see the committee through the change to the Universities, Innovation and Skills Committee and back again. He said he was looking forward to rejoining academia and promoting collaboration between scientists and policymakers.

University of Sunderland

Sonal Minocha

A natural affinity for the North East is behind Sonal Minocha's enthusiasm for her new role as associate dean of research, resources and external engagement for the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Sunderland. Dr Minocha began her academic career at Northumbria University, where she studied for her master's and professional doctorate. "Moving to Newcastle was my first time travelling anywhere outside of India," she said. "The North East really accepted me and helped me to make the transition to my full-time job." From Northumbria, Dr Minocha moved to a private higher education institution in Singapore, Raffles Education, as head of business studies. A move to Anglia Ruskin University followed. "I wanted a bit more of a traditional career before I joined the private sector," Dr Minocha explained. During her time at the university, new collaborative partnerships were developed in Malaysia, Mauritius and East Africa.

Arts University College, Bournemouth

Anthony Bednall

A fashion designer who "fell into education" has been appointed head of the School of Design at the Arts University College, Bournemouth. Anthony Bednall, who has spent the past eight years in China, is a trained graphic artist, and studied fashion as an undergraduate at Kingston University. After graduation, with aspirations to be "the next big thing", he worked on fashion shows, before studying for a certificate in education at Nottingham Trent University. He then worked at the University of Derby and the University of East London. Mr Bednall said he was most interested in things with real purpose, adding: "I don't really like fashion, but I do like clothes." During his time in China, Mr Bednall worked on commercial projects, including designing uniforms for employees at the Hilton International Hotel, alongside more creative projects working with Chinese music stars. He also exhibited fashion-related contemporary art pieces at a number of galleries. Of his move back to the UK, he said: "Eight years is quite a long time living in a country where you don't quite know the language."

Other changes

Rob Griffiths, senior lecturer at the University of Glamorgan Business School, has been elected Welsh president of the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management.

Two new professorships have been awarded by Norwich University College of the Arts. Lynda Morris has been awarded a chair in art history and curation. Suzie Hanna has been awarded a chair in animation education.

Gerard McElwee has been appointed professor of entrepreneurship and head of the strategic management and international business division at Nottingham Business School.

The University of Buckingham has announced that Simon Mackay, Baron Tanlaw of Tanlawhill, has been appointed its new chancellor. Lord Tanlaw succeeds Sir Martin Jacomb, who retired in March after 12 years' service.

John Leach has joined the University of Hull as pro vice-chancellor for engagement. Professor Leach was previously dean of the Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law at the University of Leeds.

The University of Wales has announced the winners of its first ever teaching fellowships. The new Fellows are: Jacqueline Young, course director for the MSc in nutritional therapy at the Northern College in York; Ruth Matheson, senior lecturer in the learning and teaching development unit at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (Uwic); and Ruth Dineen and Annie Grove-White, principal lecturers on the BA graphic communication programme at Uwic.

Bert Vandenkendelaere, a Belgian member of the executive committee of the European Students' Union, has been elected new chair of the organisation.

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