Appointments - 14 February 2013

February 14, 2013

Karolinska Institute
Anders Hamsten

The new president of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden said that the best thing about being appointed to the position was being able to lead a “strong and expanding” institution during a phase of “rapid change”. Anders Hamsten, professor of cardiovascular diseases at the institute and senior consultant cardiologist at the Karolinska University Hospital’s cardiology clinic, took over the position at the end of last month, succeeding Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson. His appointment is the culmination of an association with the institution that has spanned more than three and a half decades. He pinpointed three challenges he planned to address, including developing Karolinska’s undergraduate courses and ensuring that the institute keeps up to date with a healthcare landscape that is going through “seismic change”. He said: “The number of healthcare providers is soaring, which can lead to fragmentation, threatening the epidemiological, clinical and translational research constituting the cornerstones of KI’s international competitiveness.” Professor Hamsten said there would also be a focus on recruiting and supporting the best young researchers. He completed his MD degree and his PhD at the institute and has held numerous positions there since he graduated.

Bill Spence, Queen Mary, University of London

Queen Mary, University of London
Bill Spence

Bill Spence, the newly appointed vice-principal for research at Queen Mary, University of London, has suggested that were it not for the lack of financial security in his original profession, his career path might have gone in a completely different direction. “An early career foray involved marrying loud danceable music with left-wing politics as guitarist with the band the Correct Line and the Dialectics,” Professor Spence said. “However, this proved unsuitable as a means of support - and we didn’t practise enough.” Originally from Australia, he graduated from the Australian National University before receiving his PhD from King’s College London. Before joining Queen Mary almost 20 years ago on a research fellowship, he held positions at the universities of Southampton and Melbourne, and Imperial College London. He will move to his new role after being head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary. “Success in research and innovation depends critically on having an environment that fosters this by explicitly encouraging interactions, new ideas and risk-taking,” he said. “If you have the right people and give them the freedom and resources to follow up bright ideas, then you have the best foundation for future success.”

University of Bristol
Katharine Ellis

The new Stanley Hugh Badock chair in music at the University of Bristol said that the historic Victoria Rooms in which she will be working have entertained luminaries of her field. “As a scholar of the 19th century - which I am - to work in the building where Charles Dickens gave readings and [Swedish opera singer] Jenny Lind sang has a really special appeal,” said Katharine Ellis. Professor Ellis added that she felt “a recognition on my side that this was a place [where] I could make a real contribution”, and her interdisciplinary approach, which was what Bristol was interested in, made it “the ideal match”. She said she also wanted to “increase the collective confidence of [a] department that has a wonderful blend of diversity”. “I sometimes think Bristol is a bit underestimated and people haven’t caught up with just how exciting it is,” she said. “The stereotype is of quite a narrow, Western-art music tradition, when it is much more rounded.” Professor Ellis studied her undergraduate and doctorate degrees at the University of Oxford before gaining a postgraduate diploma in orchestral playing at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Previously she was at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has also held positions at Oxford, The Open University and the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

University of Portsmouth
Graham Galbraith

Graham Galbraith, the newly appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, has joked that his move to the south coast of England - which puts him as far away as possible from his native Scotland - has led to his parents questioning his motives. “I am glad there are airports not that far away and Glasgow is only an hour’s flight,” he said. “I think my parents do wonder that I’m trying to escape.” He added that the bracing sea air would not be a problem given his roots. “My origins are Glasgow and the west of Scotland so I don’t think you could get much more bracing and wet than there,” he said. Professor Galbraith will join Portsmouth in September from the University of Hertfordshire, where he is currently deputy vice-chancellor, a position that he believes prepares him for leading an institution. “I’m excited [about the move],” he said. “I’m not daunted by it because I’ve had a number of years at Glasgow Caledonian University as pro vice-chancellor, and in the past five years [at Hertfordshire] I’ve pretty well experienced most things [it takes to run] a university. I’m excited by the fact that I can stamp my own flavour on to the university.” He gained a BSc, an MSc and a PhD from the University of Strathclyde.

Other changes

A University of Southampton academic has received a prestigious research award. Jonathan Essex, head of computational systems chemistry and chairman of the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation, has received the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, which recognises talented scientists of outstanding achievement and potential. The award will help Professor Essex to fund his research into multiscale computational modelling of chemical and biological systems.

The founder and chief executive officer of Toni&Guy hairdressing salons, Toni Mascolo, has been appointed honorary professor at Durham University Business School. Mr Mascolo has been working closely with the school to study how factors such as human resource practices, leadership and the commitment of employees affect service delivery and customer satisfaction in his firm’s 280 UK salons.

Middlesex University has appointed one of the BBC’s most experienced investigative journalists as professor of professional practice in the School of Media and Performing Arts. Kurt Barling, the BBC London special correspondent, has been tasked with “bringing the outside world in”, giving students access to his expertise and bringing other journalists into the university to give talks.

The University of Winchester has appointed Neil Marriott, director of Winchester Business School, to be its new deputy vice-chancellor. Professor Marriott has taken over from Tommy Geddes, who retired from the position at the end of January.

Anne Marie Doherty, professor of marketing at University of Glamorgan Business School, has been appointed to the Royal Anniversary Trust’s National Readers Panel, which assesses the Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Further and Higher Education.

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