February 23, 2012

University of Bath

David Miller

A newly appointed professor of sociology at the University of Bath aims to analyse the impact of terrorism studies as part of his new role. David Miller, previously professor of sociology at the University of Strathclyde, said that research on terrorism was of great interest to him, especially the extent to which terrorism experts' knowledge affected policy and the criminal justice system. "A better understanding of terrorism expertise might help to foster evidence-based decision-making," he said. "One result might be in avoiding miscarriages of justice based on questionable expertise." Professor Miller completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow, where he studied biological science. He then undertook his doctoral research with the Glasgow Media Group, after which he was a lecturer and then reader in film and media studies at the University of Stirling. He said of his shift into sociology: "Sociology is important because it looks at society as a whole, enabling a holistic understanding of how social structures and natural processes impinge on society. It provides context rather than just a look at processes, which for me is key to understanding how society works." He added: "I hope to play a key role in building research strategies and culture, and in particular, building interdisciplinary links within and beyond the department."

University of St Andrews

Peter Bruce

A scientist at the University of St Andrews has been honoured for chemical research that could improve the travelling range of electric vehicles and make renewable energy more viable. Peter Bruce, Wardlaw professor of chemistry at St Andrews, was awarded the inaugural UK Science Award by the global coatings company AkzoNobel. He was chosen by an independent panel convened by the Royal Society of Chemistry, which recognised his research in the fields of solid-state chemistry and electrochemistry, and in particular his work on making lithium batteries last longer and deliver more power. Professor Bruce said that his research could help electric vehicles travel greater distances before needing to be recharged. He added that his research "could also help to balance the intermittent supply of electricity from renewable sources - such as wind and wave power - with consumer demand, a key challenge in making renewable energy viable". Professor Bruce graduated from the University of Aberdeen, where he also carried out postgraduate research, receiving his PhD in 1981. After a period as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford and then lecturer at Heriot-Watt University, he moved to St Andrews as a professor of chemistry in 1990 and was appointed to his current role in 2007.

University of Auckland

Mike Rann

The former premier of South Australia is returning to his alma mater after a 35-year absence to take up the role of visiting senior research fellow. Mike Rann first became involved in politics when completing his undergraduate and master's degrees in political science at the University of Auckland. After a brief stint as a journalist, Mr Rann moved to Australia, where he served as press secretary, speech-writer and adviser to Don Dunstan, then premier of South Australia. He went on to work for Mr Dunstan's two successors before being elected to parliament himself in 1985. He served in a number of roles within South Australia's Labor government and was elected deputy leader of the South Australian branch of the Labor Party after its defeat in the elections of 1993, going on to become leader in 1994. He was leader of the opposition until 2002, when his party won power in the region. After two more election victories, in 2006 and 2010, Mr Rann retired as leader in October 2011. He said he was delighted to be back at Auckland: "I owe so much to the department and staff. It was my big break, which helped me secure the career I wanted. My new role will give me a chance to give back."

University of California, Los Angeles

Lixia Zhang

The holder of the new Jonathan B. Postel chair in computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles has come a long way since her first job as a tractor driver on a farm in northern China. Lixia Zhang, currently professor of computer science at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA, came to the US as a postgraduate, and received her doctorate in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She then joined the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center as a researcher. Professor Zhang came to UCLA in 1995 and has remained there since. One of her notable achievements is coining the term "middlebox" to refer to the new components not in the original internet protocol architecture, such as web proxies and firewalls. The term is now widely used by the community. Professor Zhang said of her new role: "I consider myself fortunate to have joined internet research early on...My career goal is not only to help the internet grow but also to help train new generations of internet engineers and researchers by teaching students how to think architecturally."


Liverpool Hope University has announced five appointments across the faculties of arts and humanities, and sciences and social science. Alberto Sanna and Laura Hamer have joined as lecturers in music. Dr Sanna has previously worked at a number of colleges at the University of Oxford, while Dr Hamer has joined from The Open University. In the department of politics, history, media and communication, Claire Molloy and Anthony Cawley arrive as senior lecturer in news media and lecturer in communication, respectively. Dr Molloy joined Liverpool Hope recently having previously worked at the Universities of Brighton and Edge Hill, while Dr Cawley joins from the University of Limerick. Richard Moth, who has 15 years' experience in health and social care services, has joined the Faculty of Sciences and Social Science as lecturer in social work.

Keele University has officially installed Jonathon Porritt, the writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development, as its new chancellor. He will be the university's fourth chancellor, having succeeded Sir David Weatherall in a special ceremony last week. His appointment is the first official event marking Keele's 50th anniversary year.

Alison Egan has joined Leeds Metropolitan University as director of services for students. She has previously held the posts of associate director of student services and director of student experience at the University of East London.

The UK Council for Graduate Education has appointed Mick Fuller, head of the graduate school at Plymouth University, to the chair of its executive committee, and has named Gill Clarke of the University of Oxford as vice-chair. Professor Fuller and Ms Clarke, who were active members of the committee prior to their appointment, will serve three years in their respective roles.

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