'I'm honoured. if you are nominated your peers trust your judgement'

May 13, 2005

Professor Wendy Flavell is one of the first women nominated to judge physicists in the next RAE.

Wendy Flavell, professor of surface physics at Manchester University, is one of the first women to be entrusted to judge her peers in physics. She joins Athene Donald of Cambridge University on the physics panel for the research assessment exercise for 2008, it was announced this week.

She said: "I am greatly honoured. If you get nominated, then your peers trust your judgement and think that you are unbiased - that's good to know. Getting women into more academic posts in universities and in positions of authority helps to raise the profile overall of women in science."

The first Professor Flavell knew of her impending appointment was when the Institute of Physics contacted her to ask if she would accept its plan to nominate her.

Professor Flavell has worked in physics for a decade. She was the sixth woman in the UK to be given a personal chair in physics two years after switching from chemistry. Her research interests lie on the interface between chemistry and physics and she co-heads the fourth-generation light source project at the Daresbury Laboratory.

The physics panel has already met, but the real work starts in 2007 when submissions to the RAE are made. The panel plans to read in detail half the submissions it receives.

Professor Flavell hopes her employer will make allowances for those on RAE panels, perhaps by reducing teaching loads. She also aims to find time to relax: she sings with the St George's Singers, one of the largest choral societies in North West of England.

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