VC's week - 12 November 2012 - Funding success, VIP guests at the School of Law and a delegation to China

A regular update from Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Arthur.

Professor Michael Arthur

We have had confirmation of a superb result from the latest round of bids for European Research Council funding, with four of our academics receiving substantial grants. Awards to Professors Paola Caselli (School of Physics and Astronomy), Ananya Kabir (School of English), Sheena Radford (School of Cellular and Molecular Biology), and Gary Williamson (Food Science) are expected to bring the University around £7.5m when negotiations have been completed. Congratulations to everyone concerned, and my particular thanks to Ben Williams, European Manager in Funding Development, who works so closely with applicants to help shape their submissions.

It was a pleasure to welcome two renowned alumni back to the School of Law when it hosted one of the 2012 Hamlyn Lectures. The Rt Hon Jack Straw, MP, delivered the keynote address – Future of the Criminal Courts: Magistrates Courts and the Auld Report? – and the event was chaired by Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is a testament to the quality of our School of Law that both men have gone on to become senior leaders within their fields.

By the time you read this, I will be in China as part of an 18-strong delegation that includes academics representing six of our faculties and colleagues from Research and Innovation Services and the International office. The itinerary sums up perfectly the breadth of our existing involvement – scientific, cultural and commercial – with Chinese institutions, and our ambitions to strengthen and build new relationships with key partners.

Members of the delegation will be visiting institutions including the East China Normal University and New York University in Shanghai, and Nanjing University. I will also be signing two Memoranda of Agreement; one with the East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai, the second with the School of Energy at Xiamen University. A number of alumni receptions are planned, together with media interviews and guest lectures, so we will certainly be making the most of our limited time in the country!

Coinciding with the visit, a group of students from stage@leedstouring is appearing at the 2012 Shanghai International Contemporary Theatre Festival, and I’m very much looking forward to watching their performance of The Sun Is Not For Us. The piece of theatre is based on plays of the legendary Chinese dramatist Cao Yu and was designed by the cast and director, alumnus Dr David Jiang. The group has also been invited to tour the play in the Hubei and Sichuan provinces and will be attending a banquet hosted by the Mayor of Qianjiang – a fantastic experience for our students and a great honour for the University.


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