May 31, 2012

Liverpool Hope University

Frank Cottrell Boyce

The newly appointed professor of reading and communication at Liverpool Hope University joked that his first thought when he was offered the job was: "Gosh, my mum will like the sound of Professor Frank." The screenwriter and novelist has worked with Liverpool Hope for The Reader Organisation, a charity that encourages reading among people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. He said this would be a significant part of his new role. "I've become convinced that encouraging people to read for pleasure, as opposed to developing their literacy skills, is crucial in terms of creating happiness and in encouraging genuine innovation and creativity across the curriculum," he said. After obtaining a BA and a DPhil at the University of Oxford, Professor Boyce wrote screenplays for television and cinema including Hilary and Jackie and 24 Hour Party People. Although passionate about children's books, he didn't start writing them until he was 45. He believes that his new academic career is no different from his novel writing. "Lecturing is storytelling, isn't it?" he said. "Even theoretical physics is storytelling, really. I love storytelling. I feel that if you've made your mind up about anything by the time you're 18, then you no longer deserve the title Homo sapiens."

University of Surrey

Lisa Roberts

Now dean of the University of Surrey's Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Lisa Roberts said that she left industry 14 years ago to return to the academy because she "really missed" working at the cutting edge of academic research. "I had a period working for Procter and Gamble in dishwashing liquid, Fairy Liquid, [which had] nothing to do with health and medical sciences," Professor Roberts said. "The role I had was much more product management and marketing." She said it had been a difficult decision to leave, as she had a very good job, but felt that she had to "do something" as this wasn't the kind of job she wanted for the rest of her life. "I wanted to get back to research and academic life," she said. Professor Roberts, who took up her new position at the beginning of May, said that although her move up to dean had been quick, she already had a clear strategy for developing the faculty. Professor Roberts took her undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham and obtained a PhD from the Institute for Animal Health. She has spent her entire academic career at Surrey, having joined in 1998 as a lecturer, and was previously head of the department of microbial and cellular sciences.

University of Bath

Anthony Dooley

"Sydney to Bath is a bit of a change," admitted Anthony Dooley, who has joined the department of mathematical sciences at the University of Bath from the University of New South Wales. But Professor Dooley said he had swapped the heat and sun of southeast Australia for southwest England not least because of the reputation of the department. "It's a very strong maths department here," he said. "I wanted to build something a little bit different." He said that his aim was to put Bath "on the map internationally" and to build a research group in modern mathematical analysis that complements the university's established research groups. "I was part of a centre of excellence team in Australia," he added. "We aimed to bring mathematicians together and let them [cultivate] commercial interests. Computing scientists are very good: every one of their finishing students seems to be making a start-up company. [But] mathematicians are not quite so on the front foot." Professor Dooley obtained his undergraduate degree at the Australian National University and studied for a year at Pierre and Marie Curie University (Paris VI) before returning to his alma mater to complete his PhD. Soon after, he joined New South Wales, where he worked for 30 years, "man and boy".

University of Leeds

Kate Oakley

A newly appointed professor of cultural policy at the University of Leeds has said she believed the opportunity to join a more "research-intensive environment" was too good to refuse. Kate Oakley, who joined Leeds earlier this year from City University London, where she was head of the Centre for Cultural Policy and Management, said that her new role would allow her to reinforce Leeds' established track record in the field. "Having a professor of cultural policy is slightly unusual," she said, adding that while "a lot of people do media policy", she came from a broader cultural industries and policy background. Professor Oakley said she was interested in the links between "cultural and more broadly understood media policy", and aimed "to articulate those links". "If you take the Leveson inquiry, one of the biggest news stories of the past 12 months now, it is essentially a story about media policy, which I see as part of cultural policy," she added. Professor Oakley studied English at Newcastle University and completed her PhD at City. She worked as a journalist and a policy adviser at various thinktanks and research organisations before joining the academy. She also holds a visiting professorship at the University of the Arts London.


Iain McInnes, director of the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Glasgow, has been elected fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Professor McInnes will provide independent, expert advice on medical science policy and career development.

University Campus Suffolk has made two new appointments in its School of Applied Social Sciences. Simon Hallsworth and Noel Smith have joined as head of the school and head of the division of social work and policy, respectively. Professor Hallsworth, who joins from London Metropolitan University, has also been made professor of sociology. Professor Smith joins from Loughborough University, where he was director of the Centre for Research in Social Policy.

Amy Jane Barnes and Roderick Salisbury have joined the University of Leicester as research associates in the School of Museum Studies and the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, respectively. Dr Barnes will work on distance-learning initiatives, while Dr Salisbury will be the coordinator and project manager for Tracing Networks, a programme of seven linked research projects.

A leading researcher and curator of Chinese art has been appointed to a professorship at Birmingham City University. Jiehong Jiang, who has been connected with the university since moving from Shanghai in 1998, has lectured at more than 30 art institutions across China and curated exhibitions in his native country and the UK.

Sandy Trees, emeritus professor at the University of Liverpool and a world expert in veterinary parasitology, is to be made a life peer. Professor Trees, who is a former president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and former dean of veterinary science at Liverpool, is only the second vet to be appointed to the House of Lords.

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