Inside track...

April 6, 2007

Our occasional column keeps youJabreast of developments in the jobs market, from tip-offs and career pointers to who's on the move in your field.

WANTED: STAFF WILLING TO GET HANDS DIRTY

The only purpose-built logistics institute in the UK, based at Hull University, continues to expand and take on new staff.

A third professor and three new lecturers are about to be appointed, with more posts expected to be created at the £20 million institute, founded four years ago, if the present growth in student numbers is sustained.

But, according to institute director John Mangan, filling posts is not always easy in this relatively new discipline.

He said: "In the next year or two, we hope to grow our body of academics quite quickly. But they are not always easy to find. This is a relatively new area, and one that has roots in a variety of disciplines, including engineering and technology.

"That means you get people coming at it from a wide range of perspectives.

But what we really need is people who know the practical business side of things and are prepared to get their hands dirty with practical experience."

Growth in the institute has been fuelled by strong demand and investment from a regional business community that recognises the importance of the discipline, essentially a science of supply chain management, to local industry.

"The Humber estuary is the largest port in Britain in terms of the amount of freight handled, so this is a logical place to have a logistics institute," Professor Mangan added.

HELPING THE BRITISH BOBBY

An internationally-recognised expert in the field of criminology has been appointed by Cardiff University to head the first institute in England and Wales dedicated to addressing issues facing today's police forces.

Martin Innes is a criminologist whose expertise includes homicide investigations, police intelligence systems and counterterrorism.

He plans to build a new research team around the one he brought with him from Surrey University, where he was senior lecturer in sociology.

The Universities Police Science Institute, of which he is director, is a collaboration between Cardiff and Glamorgan universities and the South Wales Police. Its first students started at Glamorgan last September, but research programmes are just about to start.

According to Professor Innes, the level of interest from the nation's police forces has been overwhelming.

He said: "We are already getting to the stage where the level of demand for our services is so high that we are going to have to take on more research fellows."

HEART OF THE PROBLEM

Cardiff University is also building a team of international experts in its School of Medicine. The group aims to tackle a fatal heart condition that can strike people of any age.

Armed with £2 million from the British Heart Foundation, the school's Wales Heart Research Institute has attracted a world-leading expert on sudden cardiac death - Alan Williams, formerly head of the cardiac medicine group at Imperial College - to head an eight-strong team ranging from PhD students to senior postdoctoral students.

ALL EYES ON THE SKIES

Universities with war, defence, strategic or international studies departments have been invited to bid for an externally sponsored chair in air power, with a view to developing expertise in this relatively neglected area of military history.

The post is to be created next year by the Royal Aeronautical Society, in collaboration with the chosen university, to mark the 90th anniversary of the Royal Air Force and the 100th anniversary of powered flight in the UK.

The selected institution will be responsible for the post, which will be part funded by external sponsorship being sought by the RAS, whose senior members will be involved in the appointment process.

University or department heads interested in bidding for the chair should contact the society's chief executive, Keith Mans, at keith.mans@raes.org.uk

£113 MILLION FAST THINKER

A £113 million new supercomputer at Edinburgh University will give scientists in the UK the power to perform increasingly complex calculations.

Hector (High End Computing Terascale Resources), built by Cray in the US, is three times faster than the existing supercomputer in Edinburgh's Parallel Computing Centre and is capable of 60 million million calculations a second.

Hector will be installed in October, and should remain in operation until 2014.

Arthur Trew, EPCC director, predicted it would lead to a UK research jobs bonanza in disciplines ranging from nanoscience and aeronautics to meteorology and biochemistry.

"I would expect research positions to be created on the back of this," he said.

Professor Trew said he believed that, over the next five years, the supercomputer would offer new possibilities of researching how molecules interact with cells and organs, as well as how drugs interact with the body.

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