UCL recruits star to helm flagship

Queen Mary loses high-profile intellectual Lisa Jardine to London rival. Matthew Reisz reports

August 23, 2012

Credit: Christian Sinibaldi/Guardian News
Legacy planning: 'Queen Mary thinks I'm winding down; I think I’m building up'

One of the country's leading Renaissance scholars and public intellectuals is moving her "whole team, website and projects" to a rival institution's new flagship research centre.

Lisa Jardine, currently centenary professor of Renaissance studies at Queen Mary, University of London, will from 1 September relocate to University College London to become the first director of its Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Humanities.

"I hope I will up my game," Professor Jardine said. "Queen Mary thinks I'm winding down and I think I'm still building up - that's what tends to happen when you've been somewhere over 20 years and you are over 60. It will be hugely exciting to help a new institute to fly."

Along with her own books, frequent media appearances and three days a week as chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Professor Jardine runs the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (Cell), based at Queen Mary.

Cell carries out archive-based research covering the 16th to 18th centuries and looks at ways of translating it into online resources. Although Cell has its own "integrity and international presence", she said, it will also provide the core skills required by the UCL centre when it moves there.

Henry Woudhuysen, professor of English at UCL, said a "substantial proportion" of the £1.65 million given to the arts and humanities out of the institution's strategic development fund would go towards setting up the centre.

"Although UCL is 65 per cent medical, it is showing its commitment to the future of the arts and humanities by investing rather large sums in them," he said.

The daughter of scientist, inventor and television presenter Jacob Bronowski and sculptor Rita Coblentz, Professor Jardine has long worked on the frontiers between science, history and the arts.

She paid tribute to UCL provost Malcolm Grant's "personal inspiration" and said the idea for the centre came out of a conversation with him.

Despite her many commitments, she planned to be "very much in evidence at the centre. I want it to work like a science lab. Teamwork in the humanities is hugely exciting."

Although she is 68 and has recently recovered from a second bout of cancer, Professor Jardine said that this had only made her "more keen to embark on important new projects".

She added: "Building a centre for young scholars in these straitened times - that's a legacy I'd be happy to leave behind. I need one more big challenge and this is it."


You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

PhD Position in Archaeology and Cultural History

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

PhD position in Energy and Process Engineering

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

PhD position in Electric Power Engineering

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Research Assistant in Business

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework

people dressed in game of thrones costume

Old Germanic languages are back in vogue, but what value are they to a modern-day graduate? Alice Durrans writes