A scholar from the University of Texas at Austin plans to use a Faculty Early Career Development award from the National Science Foundation to answer "so many questions" about the birth and growth of planets. Sally Dodson-Robinson, assistant professor in astronomy at UT Austin, said she was excited about the $363,000 (£230,000) grant because it would enable her to study the growth and development of gas giants. "To me, the most compelling part of astronomy has always been the existence of other worlds. Now my job is to investigate the fundamental question of how such worlds come to exist," she said. "To spend my time the way I do is an incredible privilege." Professor Dodson-Robinson studied for her undergraduate degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology and went on to the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she received a master's degree in 2005 and a doctorate in 2008. While at Santa Cruz, Professor Dodson-Robinson won a number of accolades including the Academic Rewards for College Scientists Fellowship. She also served as a teaching fellow at Santa Cruz during the summer of 2007. After graduating, Professor Dodson-Robinson spent a year on the Spitzer Space Telescope Postdoctoral Fellowship and joined UT Austin in 2009.
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Charles Schroeder, assistant professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, has been given a fellowship by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation that will enable his research group to participate in "high-risk, high-return" research. Professor Schroeder studied for his undergraduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and went on to complete a doctorate at Stanford University. During his doctoral study, he was awarded a graduate fellowship by the National Science Foundation and a Gerald Lieberman fellowship by Stanford. He joined Illinois in 2008 after postdoctoral roles at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Schroeder's latest accolade comes with an unrestricted grant of $875,000 over five years. He said that he would use the funds to study retroviruses and bacterial gene expression with the fluorescent probes his group has developed, which are brighter and more stable than other fluorescent probes. "If we stumble on to something that is promising, then this award gives us the freedom to explore new directions in research," he said.
An engineer who has been involved in more than 120 projects over years has been recognised for his work with the Knowledge Transfer Award for Academic Excellence 2011. Graham Cockerham, professor of engineering design and head of engineering design and technology at Sheffield Hallam University, has maintained a high standard in knowledge transfer programmes; 70 per cent of the projects he worked on were graded outstanding or excellent. Professor Cockerham joined Sheffield Hallam in 1970, and took up his current role in 1984. He said that his work in knowledge transfer was important in bridging the gap between theory and practice: "As a teacher of engineering it was vital that I and my colleagues were able to maintain professional capability with examples of good practice which also enlivened classes; it was a bonus that this could be achieved within the context of bringing about strategic change within regional and national industrial organisations." Alan Smith, head of business development at Sheffield Hallam University, praised Professor Cockerham for his career-long contribution. "Graham has established excellent links with regional companies and, as a result, has been influential in kick-starting the careers of generations of Sheffield Hallam graduates," he said. "His award for academic excellence is richly deserved after a 40-year career where he has remained at the forefront of knowledge transfer across the region."
A "leader and innovator" in practice-based education for project management has been recognised with an honorary fellowship by the Association for Project Management. Darren Dalcher, professor of software project management at Middlesex University and director of the National Centre for Project Management, said that the fellowship was a "total surprise", and added that he was humbled by the honour. "I am doing something I love, trying to make a difference and improve the knowledge and expertise in managing projects," he said. "I am proud that our achievements are recognised and thrilled to be joining such an elite group of individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the profession and brought great benefits to society." Professor Dalcher worked in industry before studying for his doctorate at King's College London. In addition to this latest fellowship, he is also a chartered fellow of the British Computer Society, and a fellow of both the Chartered Management Institute and the Royal Society of Arts.
The University of Leicester has appointed three academics to head new research centres: Steven King, professor of economic and social history (Medical Humanities Research Centre); Heiko Balzter, professor of physical geography (Centre for Spatial Ecohydrology); and Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, professor of bioengineering (Bioengineering Research Centre).
Global Marketing Network, the accreditation body for marketing and business professionals, has appointed Martin Reynolds, head of the Centre for Leadership and Management at Birmingham City University, to its board as a non-executive director.
Wendy Gay has been made joint director of human resources at St George's Healthcare NHS Trust and St George's, University of London. Ms Gay is currently director of workforce and education at Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust.
The History of Science Society has awarded the Pfizer Prize for Best Scholarly Book to Eleanor Robson, reader in history and philosophy of science at the University of Cambridge, for Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History.
Laura Serrant-Green, director of research and enterprise at the Centre for Health and Social Care Improvement at the University of Wolverhampton, has been named Mentor of the Year at the 2011 Precious Awards.
The Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems, International has appointed Eddie Halpin, professor for peace education in Leeds Metropolitan's Faculty of Arts, Environment and Technology, as its new chair.