Warwick WMG recruits new talent

Applied research group bolsters its roster of expertise with with five new posts. Plus the latest higher education jobs and appointments

March 6, 2014

For Lord Bhattacharyya, chairman of WMG (formerly Warwick Manufacturing Group) at the University of Warwick, the “most difficult part” of driving innovation at the flagship applied research group is to get “the quality of people” needed.

“We have many people who can do peer research, but to do research that you can apply requires a different mindset. They not only have to be a brilliant academic – and you can see that all the chairs we have got are brilliant academics – but you want that brilliant academic mind to be skewed to application.”

He was speaking after WMG revealed five new additions in the fields of cybersecurity, the automotive industry and steel. He said that they followed a sustained period of growth for the group, with nine recruits in the past year alone.

Lord Bhattacharyya said that the appointments were essential to create a “critical mass” in fields where the UK’s research impact was lagging behind that of its global counterparts.

Ken Kendall and David Greenwood, who have joined as professorial fellow in structural composites and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) professorial chair in advanced propulsion systems, respectively, will boost WMG’s automotive expertise.

Professor Kendall, currently a consultant at Ford Research and Innovation Center in the US, is a technical expert in lightweight materials used for the automotive industry.

Professor Greenwood, whose position is funded to the tune of £1.4 million by JLR, will lead a world-class team of international researchers to advance innovative and novel propulsion systems at the new £92 million National Automotive Innovation Campus, which will be based at Warwick.

WMG has also added two more Tata Steel research chairs, Barbara Shollock and Claire Davis. Professors Shollock and Davis join Sridhar Seetharaman, who was made Royal Academy of Engineering and Tata Steel joint research chair in low carbon materials technology last year.

Completing the appointments is Tim Watson, a new professorial fellow in cybersecurity.

“The whole purpose of the appointments is that without critical mass, you can’t make a big impact,” Lord Bhattacharyya said. “You can make minor impacts, but to make a big impact you need critical mass, laboratories and equipment. This will allow us to do research and train people – create top-class engineers who will go into companies. I want to emulate Germany, France and the United States.”

He noted that WMG was in a strong position to achieve this because of its “history of success” with companies. “Private companies don’t give [money] as charity,” he said. “In return for [investment] they will expect output, and we have a track record of good output over the past 20-25 years.”


Nuts and bolts: other engineering jobs

University of Bradford
The University of Bradford aims to appoint a chair in civil engineering.
Closing date for applications: 28 March 2014
View the full job description and apply for this role

Dublin Institute of Technology
The College of Engineering and Built Environment at the Dublin Institute of Technology is seeking a head of its School of Mechanical and Design Engineering.
Closing date for applications: 7 March 2014
View the full job description and apply for this role

University of Huddersfield
The University of Huddersfield’s Institute of Railway Research is looking for a professor of railway risk and safety.
Closing date for applications: 10 April 2014
View the full job description and apply for this role


The University of Huddersfield has made two professorial appointments. Lisa Farrell and Caroline Elliott have joined as professors of business economics and industrial economics, respectively. Professor Farrell returns to the UK from Australia, where she was professor of economics at RMIT University. Professor Elliott joins from Lancaster University.

The Health Foundation has appointed two professorial fellows to strengthen academic research in patient safety and person-centred care. Alan Cribb, from King’s College London, and Charles Vincent, from the University of Oxford, are leading researchers in improving the quality and safety of care.

Gerda Wielander has been appointed head of the department of modern languages and cultures at the University of Westminster. Dr Wielander has been at Westminster for the past 15 years and was previously principal lecturer and programme director for undergraduate languages courses.

Footwear designer Michael King has returned to his alma mater, De Montfort University, to teach on its BA in footwear design.

Newcastle University has named Lucy Armstrong the next David Goldman visiting professor of innovation and enterprise in its business school. Ms Armstrong is chief executive of The Alchemists, an organisation that works with fast-growing entrepreneurial firms to help develop their businesses.

Carolin Crawford has agreed to extend her tenure as professor of astronomy at Gresham College for another year. Professor Crawford, who was appointed to the position in 2011, has proved to be one of the college’s most popular lecturers.

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