June 2, 2011

University of Hull

Steven Ersser

One of the first academics to hold a chair in dermatology care has been appointed professor of nursing and dermatology care and dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the University of Hull. Steven Ersser, currently professor of nursing development and skincare research at Bournemouth University, said that he had been inspired to pursue a career in the field after working with Terence Ryan, emeritus professor of dermatology at Green College, Oxford. "I thought it was an important, neglected area that I could help develop," he said. Professor Ersser was awarded his PhD in nursing studies by King's College London in 1996. He then worked with Professor Ryan at Oxford Brookes University before joining the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Southampton; from 2000 to 2007 he was head of nursing development and reader in nursing. Between 1999 and 2010 he was also president of the International Skin Care Nursing Advisory Board, which develops scientific educational opportunities for nurses worldwide. In 2006 he received the Stone Award from the British Dermatological Nursing Group in recognition of his contribution to the development of evidence-based dermatology.

Kingston University

Robert Blackburn

An expert in entrepreneurship and the role of small businesses has won a Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion. Robert Blackburn, director of research for the Faculty of Business and Law at Kingston University, was one of only two academics to receive the award, which acknowledges work to promote enterprise skills and entrepreneurship. Professor Blackburn, who is also director of Kingston's Small Business Research Centre, said that the award was one of the highlights of his 20-year career at the university. "In that time I've worked with some incredibly talented people," he said. "Every month is different but what remains the same is that we always work with experts." Professor Blackburn started at Kingston as a postdoctoral research Fellow, becoming reader and then research professor in 1996. He said the research centre, which he has led for 15 years, aimed to help large-scale organisations understand small business and entrepreneurship. "In a way we're in the communications business," he said. "There's a great deal of mythology...and one of the goals of our centre is to help raise the evidence base in the field."

Harvard University

Ray Jayawardhana

Ray Jayawardhana, Canada research chair in observational astrophysics at the University of Toronto, has been named a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. Professor Jayawardhana was born in Sri Lanka and moved to the US to study at Yale University for his undergraduate degree. He then went on to Harvard and was awarded a doctorate in 2000. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Michigan before moving to Toronto. His role at Harvard will allow him to focus on an individual project of his choice. "I'm excited about being part of the multidisciplinary community at the Radcliffe Institute," he said. "It's a wonderful opportunity to broaden my intellectual horizons and explore new avenues." Professor Jayawardhana is no stranger to accolades: in 2009, he received an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He is also well known for his work in making science accessible: his latest popular science book is Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System (2011) and he is a contributing editor to Astronomy magazine.

University of Sydney

Michael Biercuk

The scientist responsible for research into the yoctonewton - the most sensitive measurement of force recorded to date - has won Australia's National Measurement Institute Prize. Michael Biercuk, senior lecturer in physics at the University of Sydney, said he was pleased to have been recognised for his research. "I am extremely grateful and humbled that this work was deemed significant enough to warrant this distinction," he said. "I'm pleased that the exciting new field of quantum science is having an impact on a variety of disciplines." Dr Biercuk studied for his undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Pennsylvania before moving to Harvard University for his postgraduate and doctoral qualifications. He then worked as a consultant to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the US before moving back to academia as a postdoctoral research Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Ion Storage Group. He moved to Sydney in 2010. Dr Biercuk said that his research into the yoctonewton, described by Australia's innovation minister Kim Carr as "a million, million, billion times smaller than the force exerted by a feather lying on a table", could be used to solve big problems. "Compared with previous record-setting techniques, our scheme would allow measurement of the same force about 1 million times faster," he added.


Derek Penslar has been appointed the first Stanley Lewis professor of Israel studies by the University of Oxford. He is currently Samuel J. Zacks professor of Jewish history at the University of Toronto.

Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, will be the new chairman of the court and council of Imperial College London. She succeeds Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, who has been chairman since 2005.

Sheffield Hallam University has appointed Adrian Hopgood as pro vice-chancellor and dean of Sheffield Business School. He is currently dean of the Faculty of Technology at De Montfort University.

Tom Inns has been appointed dean of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. He takes up the post at the college, which is part of the University of Dundee, having filled it on a temporary basis since last November.

The University of Glasgow has made three appointments. Peter Aitchison has been appointed media relations manager. Mr Aitchison was previously senior director with the Glasgow-based public relations agency McGarvie Morrison Media. Massimo Pignatelli has been appointed head of the School of Medicine. He joins from the University of Bristol, where he was professor of histopathology and head of the department of clinical science. And Rhian Touyz has been appointed director of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences. She was previously at the Kidney Research Centre, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, where she was Canada research chair in hypertension, senior scientist and professor of medicine.

Simon Bains, head of digital library at the University of Edinburgh, has been appointed head of research and learning support and deputy librarian at the John Rylands University Library, University of Manchester.

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