August 23, 2012

University of Westminster

David Dernie

David Dernie has been made dean of the School of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of Westminster. He joins from De Montfort University, where he was head of the Leicester School of Architecture and professor of architecture. "I'm very sympathetic to the aims and character of Westminster," he said. "It's an excellent university and the School of Architecture holds just the diverse set of disciplines that I'm interested in." Professor Dernie graduated from the University of Cambridge (where he received the Sindall Prize for Technology) with an MA and a diploma in architecture. He has since taught at the universities of Plymouth and Nottingham, served as a director of studies at four Cambridge colleges and been a fellow of Fitzwilliam College. He has also served as head of the Manchester School of Architecture. "It's an exciting opportunity to take the school forward and achieve greater recognition internationally," said Professor Dernie of the deanship. "I also hope to further establish integration and cross-disciplinarity within the programmes in the school, which will be central to future practice in industry."

University College London

Stefaan Simons

The inaugural chair of University College London's Australia-based International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI) has said he will bring "a new kind of leadership to the energy challenge". "I've been involved in the technology side of energy for many years and have always felt that it is the technologists who should drive energy policy - but with a human face," said Stefaan Simons, professor of chemical engineering and current director of the Centre for CO2 Technology at UCL. IEPI is part of a US$10 million (£6.37 million) sponsorship agreement with multinational mining, oil and gas company BHP Billiton to support research, fellowships and scholarships in the fields of energy and sustainable resources. As IEPI's chair, Professor Simons will develop scenarios to inform policymakers and help deliver a low-carbon future. He graduated with a BSc in chemical and process engineering from the University of Surrey before undertaking doctoral study at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (now part of the University of Manchester). He has spent his entire full-time academic career at UCL after a short spell in industry following the completion of his PhD.

University of Warwick

Alison Ribeiro de Menezes

The first chair of the new Hispanic studies department at the University of Warwick said she was delighted by the "chance-in-a-lifetime opportunity". Alison Ribeiro de Menezes, who joins Warwick from University College Dublin, will establish a series of degree courses and combinations in Hispanic studies and other languages with a strong cross-cultural and transatlantic focus. "It's not often that a new university department is started from scratch, and certainly not in modern languages," she added. "I relish the challenge of working with those new colleagues to put Warwick Hispanic studies on the map and develop a series of innovative degrees over the course of the next few years." At a time when humanities (and language courses in particular) are being cut, Professor Ribeiro is pleased that Warwick is investing in the field. "There is a significant deficit in language competence in the UK, and Warwick recognises the need to move in the opposite direction and buck the trend," she said. Professor Ribeiro read Spanish and French at St Anne's College, Oxford, where she remained to complete her DPhil. She has held numerous positions at University College Dublin, most recently senior lecturer.

University of Reading

Tim Dixon

The academic named as chair in sustainable futures in the built environment at the University of Reading has said it is his "third incarnation" at the institution. Tim Dixon joins Reading from Oxford Brookes University, where he has worked for seven years, most recently as professor of real estate and director of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development. "I wanted some fresh challenges, and working in an environment that has some exciting new developments, in a university where there has always been a strong focus on the built environment, were twin attractions," he said. Professor Dixon's research focuses on urban regeneration and reducing the environmental impact of current and future buildings. He is currently heading Retrofit 2050, an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded project that is looking at ways to improve the sustainability of cities for the coming decades. Although Reading has "some very strong links with industry already, I've brought several other projects with me, so there's an existing network I hope we will be able to tap into and do some cross-cutting work", he said. Professor Dixon graduated with a BA in geography from the University of Leeds. He then undertook doctoral study at Reading, where he has also worked as research director and senior tutor at the College of Estate Management, which is based at the university's Whiteknights campus.


The University of Dundee has announced the appointment of three deputy principals. Margaret Smith, dean of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Alan Page, dean of the School of Law, and Georgina Follett, have been made deputy principals for internationalisation, research governance and knowledge exchange in the creative arts, respectively.

Simon Judd, professor of membrane technology at Cranfield University, is to take up a part-time sabbatical position at Qatar University as Maersk Oil professorial chair in environmental engineering. Professor Judd will take up the role in September, but will also continue to work at Cranfield in municipal wastewater treatment and reuse, while exploring opportunities in the treatment of wastewater from oil and gas exploration. Also at Cranfield, Mark Jolly has been named professor of sustainable manufacturing and head of the Sustainable Manufacturing Systems Centre. Professor Jolly joins Cranfield from the University of Birmingham, where he was a senior lecturer and where he set up the Castings Centre before creating the university's Process Modelling Group.

City University London has appointed John Fothergill pro vice-chancellor for research and enterprise. He joins from the University of Leicester, where he was head of engineering.

Phil Renshaw, whose background is in international banking and corporate finance, has joined Bucks New University as visiting professor and director of the Institute of Applied Leadership (INSTAL). Mr Renshaw, who has sat on INSTAL's board since its launch in 2011, will be looking to continue its work in developing original, customised and practical management solutions to improve leadership capability within organisations.

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