November 17, 2011

University of Oxford

Jane Humphries

A "number-crunching economic historian" has won the Gyorgy Ranki Biennial Prize, awarded for an outstanding book on European economic history. Jane Humphries, professor of economic history at the University of Oxford, won it for her book Childhood and Child Labour in the British Industrial Revolution (2010). The book uses qualitative analysis and working people's own accounts to illustrate the rise of child labour in the era of industrialisation by reconstructing their childhood experiences. Professor Humphries originally studied economics at the University of Cambridge, but said that she had always been most intrigued by the human aspects of the discipline. "I was interested in family and economy - how economy exerts pressure on and moulds families, and how in turn family influences labour supply and the economy," she said. For the book, Professor Humphries said that as well as already published accounts, she had employed some "detective work" to collect the experiences of more than 600 working men through other means, such as archival repositories. Professor Humphries admitted that there had been some criticism that the book used only accounts of men, but said that "as it won the prize, that approach obviously worked". However, she said that she was now looking to identify and use accounts from working women, although these were more difficult to find.

Michigan State University

Estrella Torrez

Estrella Torrez is hoping to use her academic specialty to tackle racism in Michigan as part of the state's new Metro Detroit Truth and Reconciliation Commission. An assistant professor in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University, she said that she was "very pleased" to be part of the effort. "My personal interest is working directly with community members who have struggled with racial privilege and racial inequity to learn more about the issues involved," she said. "I'd like to bring their stories to the table so that their voices are front and centre during the commission's work." Professor Torrez gained her undergraduate degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University. She went on to a master's in early childhood multicultural education and bilingual education, then a PhD in educational thought and sociocultural studies, both from the University of New Mexico. As well as her academic work on language politics and the importance of community-based knowledge, Professor Torrez is no stranger to working with the Michigan community: she co-founded the state's Indigenous Youth Empowerment Program, which she now directs.

University of Queensland

Zablon Njiru

A University of Queensland researcher has been honoured by the Kenyan government. Zablon Njiru, postdoctoral fellow in the School of Veterinary Science, has been developing "simple diagnostic tests" for diseases such as Buruli ulcer disease and sleeping sickness. He said that it had been a challenge to develop the tests in "resource-poor, endemic areas", but added: "With the pace of development in the technology we are using and support from philanthropic groups and other funding agencies, it is most likely that in the next five years, we will have specific tests for sleeping sickness and Buruli ulcer disease, among others." Dr Njiru was presented with the Kenyan Community President Award for Excellence in Research and Development as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Australia. Before joining Queensland, Dr Njiru received his PhD from Murdoch University.


Sonal Minocha has been named dean of the University of Bedfordshire Business School. Dr Minocha is currently associate dean (international, development and external engagement) in the Faculty of Business and Law, University of Sunderland.

Clare Gilbert, co-director of the International Centre for Eye Health and professor of international eye health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, has been presented with the International Blindness Prevention Award by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Sir Deian Hopkin, former vice-chancellor of London South Bank University, has been appointed president of the National Library of Wales.

Martin Corbett has joined the University of Leicester as a reader in the School of Management. He was previously at Warwick Business School where he was an associate professor in organisational behaviour.

Gioia Pescetto has started work as dean of Portsmouth Business School. Professor Pescetto joins from Canterbury Christ Church University, where she was dean of the Faculty of Business and Management.

Patricia Sanchez-Baracaldo, research collaborator in evolutionary biology at the University of Bristol, has been awarded a Dorothy Hodgkin fellowship by the Royal Society.

Robin Millar, Salters' professor of science education at the University of York, has been elected the next president of the Association for Science Education.

Ruth Deery has been appointed to the new post of professor of maternal health in a joint appointment by the University of the West of Scotland and NHS Ayrshire and Arran. Professor Deery was previously a reader in midwifery at the University of Huddersfield.

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