Celebrate Our Staff – November 2019

Here we celebrate our colleagues’ achievements across the University this past month.

Professor Barbara Evans (School of Civil Engineering), Dr Ann Mdee (Associate Professor in the School of Politics and International Studies), Dr Lata Narayanaswamy (Lecturer in International Development in the School of Politics and International Studies) and Alesia Ofori (a water@leeds PhD candidate) celebrating the launch of the Water Woman Award during the 10th anniversary event for water@leeds

Image shows Professor Barbara Evans, Dr Ann Mdee, Dr Lata Narayanaswamy and Alesia Ofori celebrating the launch of the Water Woman Award during the 10th anniversary event for water@leeds

A new award has been launched to recognise the achievements of women in science and their power to inspire others.

The Water Woman Award has been developed by water@leeds in partnership with the Faculty of Environment Athena SWAN team.

By rewarding achievements by women whose work contributes to the scientific objectives of water@leeds in securing competitive research funds, producing world-class research or achieving significant societal impact, the Award aims to highlight their efforts in an academic world in which the hurdles are still greater for females.

The Award is based on two equally-weighted criteria – the nature of the achievement and its potential for empowering and inspiring other women into following their example.

It is open to all employees at Leeds identifying as women and from all backgrounds.

Dr Clare Woulds, Athena SWAN team leader for the Faculty of Environment, said: “It is important to raise the profile of successful women in our institution to provide role models, and to facilitate peer-to-peer mentoring.

“We hope in this way to enable all of our colleagues to achieve their goals.”

The Award will be split into four categories:

  • Research Funding – in recognition of securing significant competitive research funding (the level of significance will be considered in relation to the discipline and area of work and does not include a specific threshold for the value)
  • Research Excellence – in recognition of outstanding research (e.g. academic publication or equivalent)
  • Societal Impact and Knowledge Transfer – in recognition of translating research and innovation; and
  • Academic support – in recognition of critical support provided to the achievement of any of the above (e.g. through administrative, organisational or technical support).

Winners will receive £1,000 each, transferred to their staff development account.

Applications or nominations can be made by submitting a form available on the water@leeds website by 2pm on Wednesday 15 January 2020.

Pictured at the recent GFEI launch are (from left) Dr Stephen Whitfield, Professor Fiona Smith, Professor Caroline Orfila, Professor Steve Banwart (Global Food and Environment Institute Director – GFEI), Professor Lisa Collins (Academic Director of Smart Agri-Systems and Head of the School of Biology) and Professor Katie Field

The four Associate Directors of the Global Food and Environment Institute (GFEI) have all been recognised for their expertise.

Professor Caroline Orfila, who leads the Urban Food Consumption theme, has been appointed Professor of Plant Biochemistry and Nutrition in the School of Food Science and Nutrition. Her team has recently been awarded pump-priming money to undertake a project to map the urban food system in the city of Leeds. During the next nine months, this project will engage stakeholders from across the city region to identify priorities for future research and activity.

Dr Stephen Whitfield, Associate Professor of Climate Change and Food Security in the School of Earth and Environment, has been awarded £150,000 for a research project entitled Integrating Lessons on Co-Production in Climate Science and Services. The award was made through the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience (SHEAR) programme and will focus on developing climate services for the agriculture and food sector.

Fiona Smith, Professor in International Economic Law and associate director for the International Food Supply Chains theme, recently spoke at the White Rose Brussels Agri-food event. Her talk focused on the challenges facing the global system of food trade regulation in 21st century.

Katie Field has been appointed Professor of Plant-Soil Interactions in the School of Biology. Professor Field is the Associate Director for the Agriculture and Environment theme at the GFEI. She has recently led a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)-funded project, which has demonstrated how fungi could be utilised to reduce our reliance on fertilisers.

Academic staff and postgraduate students are invited to join the GFEI. Find out more about the benefits of membership.

Vice Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands with the award winnersVice-Chancellor, Sir Alan Langlands, with winners at the ceremony 

Winners of the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Health and Safety 2019 have been announced during a special ceremony at University House.

The awards recognise and celebrate the exceptional inspiration, commitment and achievement of staff and students in health, safety and wellbeing.

Dr Natalie North and Dr Nicole Watt Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine (LICAMM), Faculty of Medicine and Health – won the main award.

Natalie and Nicole are post-doctoral research fellows with a keen interest in improving health and safety awareness in the extensive LICAMM research laboratories. They went above and beyond their roles as post-docs to engage with colleagues (in particular academics) to transform the way LICAMM works to promote health and safety. Their entry was selected as the most inspirational and won the £250 prize.

Visit the Wellbeing, Safety and Health website for further information about the awards and a full list of winners.

Ros Bates (Conference Manager), Harriet Boatwright (Conference Sales and Marketing Manager) and Michael Leonard (Residential Property Manager) receive the award from Martin Fullard (Editor, Conference News) 

The team at MEETinLEEDS, which is responsible for the conference, meeting and events facilities at the University, is celebrating success after winning a prestigious industry award.

This year marked the third edition of the prestigious Academic Venue Conference and Awards, specifically created to bring together the best of the industry to share knowledge and highlight excellence during the past 12 months.

MEETinLEEDS was recognised for its outstanding efforts in ensuring its academic venues are inclusive and accessible to all, taking home the 2019 Best Accessibility Award for the third year in a row.

The event hosted by MEETinLEEDS that best demonstrated the performance and versatility of the facility space was the Communication Matters National AAC Conference, which took place in September. This marks the eighth year MEETinLEEDS has hosted the conference on campus, showcasing how the team continues to work closely with organisers to meet their needs.

The conference is the UK’s leading annual AAC event, with a diverse programme of plenaries, presentations and exhibitions held over two and a half days. In preparation for the event, the team at MEETinLEEDS all undertook important face-to-face training with the aim of helping trainees identify ‘good communication’.

This award also follows the Early Adopter status for the Communication Access symbol that MEETinLEEDS was awarded last year – a symbol dedicated to indicating spaces that are accessible for people with communication difficulties.

Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised for the hard work and dedication of our teams during the past 12 months with the Best Accessibility Award.

“Our customers are our inspiration and they closely work with us, and with our wider teams, to ensure we deliver facilities and services that enhance their delegates’ experience. The Academic Venues Awards provides a great opportunity to highlight the fantastic work taking place across academic venues, and we’re extremely proud to sit alongside our friends from across the sector.”

Ian Robertson, Director of Residential and Catering services, added: “Winning this award recognises our commitment to providing equal and excellent service for our conference visitors. Team members in the Facilities Directorate should be very proud of the work they do to tailor services to meet the individual needs of different service users.”

Sue Pimblett, who has been awarded the prestigious Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Top Worldwide Student Prize for the Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing 

Sue Pimblett has been awarded the prestigious Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Top Worldwide Student Prize for the Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing.

Sue, Senior Marketing, Sales and Communications Manager in the Facilities Directorate (FD), has been studying for the diploma for the past three years, and was delighted to receive the award.

She said: “I am extremely proud to have been awarded the prestigious prize.

“This was quite the surprise, especially given how many people study for this qualification globally every year.

“I’m a huge ambassador for continuing to study and the benefits of professional qualifications. For me, this qualification has helped formalise and deepen my understanding gained in my professional career. My undergraduate degree was in Sport and Recreation Management, so studying for professional qualifications has been a brilliant way of upskilling myself and providing knowledge of effective high-level strategic marketing.

“All modules focussed on real-world, applied marketing, but specifically useful for me were the topics of risk and change management, maximising competitive and sustainable marketing and relationship strategies and the impact of reputational perception on organisational performance. These have certainly influenced the strategies I have adopted to overcome business challenges we have faced in the past few years.”

Sue leads the Marketing, Sales and Communications team in FD covering a diverse portfolio of services, such as Catering, Sport, Estates and Facilities, Residences, Conferencing and Sustainability.

One of the new Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Research Fellows, Dr Richard Bourne

Dr Richard Bourne has been announced as a new Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Research Fellow in Digital Manufacturing and Discovery of Pharmaceuticals.

Dr Bourne is currently an Associate Professor based at the Institute of Process Research and Development (iPRD) at Leeds, developing new methods to optimise the discovery and manufacture of new medicines using automated reactors and chemical engineering techniques.

With the support from this Fellowship, Dr Bourne aims to develop and integrate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning controlled synthesis to accelerate the development of new drugs and support potential new treatments for diseases such as arthritis and cancers. As well as accelerating discovery and manufacture, Dr Bourne’s methods promote ‘clean growth’, with less chemical waste that the more expensive, traditional drug discovery techniques.

Dr Bourne said: “I’m very excited to partner with The Royal Academy of Engineering – the RAEng Senior Research Fellowships scheme provides incredibly flexible and generous support that will enable me to explore the breadth of processes for generating new molecules.

“This, together with the post-doctoral collaboration I have with BioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, will enable us to explore many more possible ways of generating and optimising potential new candidate drugs. The Academy’s network of engineers will help to ensure these new technologies are widely disseminated and can make the most impact on society.”

Dr_Konstantinos_TsavdaridisOne of six new Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellows, Dr Konstantinos Tsavdaridis

Dr Konstantinos Tsavdaridis has been elected as one of six new Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellows.

According to the Royal Academy of Engineering, all the new appointees will work on a wide variety of projects.

The Fellowships, supported by the Leverhulme Trust, allow awardees to focus full-time on research by covering the costs of a replacement academic to take over their teaching and administrative duties for a year.

Dr Tsavdaridis said: “I am extremely honoured to be receiving such a prestigious award from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

“I am earnestly grateful for the recognition I have received for my work and my vision for the Built Environment and the Construction sectors. I would like to also thank deeply all the academic and industrial partners who supported my application and enlighten my knowledge through discussions.”

Dr Tsavdaridis has been Associate Professor of Structural Engineering in the School of Civil Engineering since 2016. With the support from the Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship, his research will focus on the development of metallic 3D printed connection prototypes for modular construction in tall buildings. Modular construction is thought to be a more sustainable and modern method of construction, as the structure can be moved around and reused as something different in the future.

Professor Jason Halford, who will succeed Dr Peter Gardner as Head of the School of Psychology 

Professor Jason Halford has been appointed Head of the School of Psychology, succeeding Dr Peter Gardner.

Professor Halford is currently Chair in Biological Psychology and Health Behaviour and former Head of the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Liverpool, former Chair of the UK Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO) and Treasurer and President Elect of the European Association of Obesity (EASO). He is a Chartered Health Psychologist.

His early research focused on anti-obesity drugs and appetite, and this has progressed to the behavioural assessment of potential anti-obesity drugs in early clinical development. His research during the past decade has focused on:

  • drug-induced weight gain
  • the effects of nutrients and fibre on appetite and hormone release
  • the effects of stress on eating behaviour
  • the effect of marketing on children; and
  • the effect of marketing on lean-obese differences in the expression of appetite.

He is also a theme lead for Health in N8 Agri-food.

Dr Peter Gardner leaves to take up a new post with the University of Bradford starting in February 2020. As Professor of Healthcare Quality and Safety based in the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, his remit will be to work collaboratively in the Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research. He will also maintain his co-leadership of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR)-funded ISCOMAT Programme Grant, and will therefore continue to be a regular visitor to the Leeds campus.

Jason will take up his post from 1 April 2020, with Professor Anna Madill acting as Interim Head of School during February and March 2020.

Online course Transport Systems: Global Issues and Future Innovations is meeting objectives for increasing international student recruitment 

Results from a recent induction survey carried out by the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) demonstrate that the two-week online course Transport Systems: Global Issues and Future Innovations is meeting objectives for increasing international student recruitment.

The academic lead for the course, Dr Yue Huang, confirmed that 12 of the 41 students who participated in the survey had accessed the course, and seven said it led to them coming to study at Leeds.

The success of this award-winning course, developed jointly by the Digital Education Service (DES) and ITS, serves as an example to encourage other Faculties to design online courses specifically to support recruitment.

“We are delighted this FutureLearn online course has successfully contributed to the recruitment objectives of the Institute for Transport Studies,” said Carol Elston, Head of Digital Education Service.

Contact the Digital Learning team for further information.

Colleagues including Dr Ryan Neely III have co-authored an award-winning paper regarding volcanic emissions 

Three Leeds academics have won a prestigious prize for a paper they co-authored regarding volcanic emissions.

Dr Ryan Neely III (Associate Professor of Observational Atmospheric Science in the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and the School of Earth and Environment – SEE), Professor Dan Marsh (Priestley International Centre for Climate Chair in Comparative Planetary Atmospheres) and Dr Anja Schmidt (SEE, now at Cambridge) were on the team selected as the winner of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Outstanding Publication Award this year for an article entitled Global volcanic aerosol properties derived from emissions, 1990-2014, using CESM1(WACCM).

The paper quantified the cooling effects and ozone losses due to volcanic aerosols – the largest natural contributor to climate change. This paper was the first to quantify the contribution of small-magnitude eruptions to stratospheric aerosol concentrations and to answer the question of why stratospheric optical depth was elevated for a decade.

One supporter called this “one of the key papers of the last decade” in the field of stratospheric and volcanic aerosols.

Dr Neely III said: "It feels great to get recognised for work that unpins how we represent volcanoes in climate models.

“Remarkable agreement was seen between model results and observations. The volcanic eruption database is available to the community to further future modelling efforts. Subsequent studies, using this new capability, have assessed the impacts of recent volcanic activities on climate and on stratospheric ozone recovery.”

The Award was established in 1967 by Walter Orr Roberts, founding director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, to recognise publications that make an important, creative, original and clear contribution to atmospheric science.

Amelia Lesiuk, who has won the 2019 Science Council CPD Award for outstanding professional development in science 

Amelia Lesiuk, a Laboratory Area Coordinator from the Faculty of Biological Sciences (FBS), is one of four individuals to win the 2019 Science Council CPD Award for outstanding professional development in science.

The Awards celebrate the professional development efforts and achievements of people across the four Science Council registers: Registered Science Technician (RSciTech), Registered Scientist (RSci), Chartered Scientist (CSci) and Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach). Amelia was nominated by her colleagues in the faculty and won the RSci category.

She said: “Neale Donal Walsch believes that ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. You won’t find glory at the centre of safety but at its ages … You have to not only pick up the dice but roll them. So go ahead, take the gamble.’ That’s exactly what I have done in the past two years.

“Thank you very much to the Science Council for acknowledging my hard work and selecting me as the winner in the RSci category of the CPD Awards. I am greatly honoured for being considered worthy of this title and I will do my best to merit this recognition.

“Next, I would like to thank Laura Musgrove [Research Technician at Leeds] for taking the initiative in nominating me, and my Line Manager, Jackie Goodall, for continuous support and encouragement. Without her, my CPD list wouldn’t be that diverse and well-tailored to the research faculty support and my personal development needs. Also, I would like to thank all my colleagues at work, the FBS technical management team and the research technicians that work in my area, who make the faculty a tiptop workplace. Thank you to Professor Richard Bayliss, Dr Eoin Leen and Dr Josephina Sampson for profound influence through science, sage advice and humour.

“I still have a lot to learn, but with continuous support and encouragement from the University, Institute of Science and Technology (IST) and Science Council, I believe I can accomplish a great deal and this is just a beginning.”

Read the full story

Pictured with Lorraine Davis (left), BICSc Chairman, is Jill Roberts, who has been awarded a Fellowship of the British Institute of Cleaning Science

Jill Roberts, Facilities Manager Cleaning Services, was awarded a Fellowship of the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) at its Annual General Meeting.

BICSc is the largest independent, educational and professional body within the cleaning industry. The honour recognises Jill’s outstanding contribution to the cleaning industry during her 39-year career.

Jill joined the University as the new head of Cleaning Services in January, and has previously managed cleaning and facilities services at the University of Huddersfield and at the Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield, as well as in local authorities, schools and colleges. Jill has also taken up seat on BICSc’s Council, which is responsible for setting the strategy and policies of the institute.

Pictured with the Sustainable Beauty Awards accolade is Dr Richard Blackburn, from University spin-out company Keracol Limited

Keracol Limited – one of the University’s spin-out companies – has won a major award in the cosmetics industry.

It has received the best New Sustainable Product accolade at the Sustainable Beauty Awards in Paris, which are presented as part of the annual Sustainable Cosmetics Summit.

The company, which is now based in Nexus, the University’s innovation hub, was founded by Dr Richard Blackburn (School of Design) and Professor Chris Rayner (School of Chemistry) in 2011, with the aim of developing products that achieve high performance but that are also safe and sustainable.

To do this, the company utilises the fantastic array of chemistry that nature provides. Keracol develops novel approaches to the extraction of active molecules from plant sources for existing and new applications. Its extracts are effectively applied in cosmetic products for hair coloration, hair care and skin care, as food colorants and food ingredients.

Keracol’s cosmetic brand – Dr Craft – was launched in 2018. This latest award is for Dr Craft’s Natural Purple Berry Brightening Serum.

Dr Blackburn said: “Unlike ‘purple shampoos’, our serum uses 100% natural pigments, rather than synthetic dyes, to treat hair with brassy overtones.

“Using groundbreaking science, we extract our pigments from waste blackcurrant skins left over after the fruit has been pressed to make Ribena and transform them into natural and sustainable beauty!

“We hope this award enables us to increase exposure of our brand, to tell our sustainability story and to open up new retail opportunities.”

Professor David Fairer interweaves a murder mystery and literary puzzle with authentic history in Chocolate House Treason 

Recapturing the delights of the classic 18th century novel, Professor David Fairer presents a cracking historical ‘whodunit’ in his first foray into the world of literature.

In his remarkable fictional debut, Professor Fairer interweaves a murder mystery and literary puzzle with authentic history. The first in a projected series of Chocolate House Mysteries, Chocolate House Treason shows the London of Queen Anne in all its brilliance and filth, its violence, elegance and wit.

Covent Garden, January 1708. Queen Anne’s new ‘Great Britain’ is in crisis. The Queen is mired in a sexual scandal, spies are everywhere and political disputes are bringing violence and division. The treasonous satirist ‘Bufo’ is public enemy number one and the Ministry is determined to silence him. Drawn into a web of intrigue that reaches from the brothels of Drury Lane to the Court of St James’s, at the Bay-Tree Chocolate House Mary Trotter and her young friends, Tom and Will, race against time to unravel the political plots, solve two murders and prevent another.

To some extent, Professor Fairer has lived his entire life in the period, as Lecturer and Professor of 18th Century Literature at Leeds. He’s now turned his pen to blending fact with fiction.

“To publish your first novel at the age of 72 is an unusual adventure, but I’m well prepared!” said Professor Fairer, who first came to Leeds as a Lecturer in the English department in 1976. “Over four decades, I’ve written books on the 18th century and its literature, and now I find myself on the other side of the fence, writing from within the world that I’ve inhabited imaginatively for 50 years. I’m inspired by the thought of bringing this fascinating period to life for modern readers.”

Chocolate House Treason is released by Troubador Publishing.

Intranquilities: Voices from Haiti by Ed Owles 

A documentary inspired by the work of the late Dr Anthony Carrigan, from the School of English, won a prize in a film contest celebrating the best in arts and humanities research.

Intranquilities: Voices from Haiti won the Doctoral or Early Career Film Award in this year’s Research in Film Awards organised by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The film explores the defiance and energy of the contemporary Haitian art world and sets the work of various Haitian artists in the context of disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake. Featured artists include writers, painters, photographers and performers, all united by a desire to use their creative practice to reframe how the country’s history and culture is perceived and understood.

Intranquilities, made by Ed Owles, is inspired by the work of his friend Dr Carrigan, former Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature and Cultures, and was initially funded through the latter’s AHRC Leadership Fellowship.

Dr Carrigan was particularly interested in creative responses to natural and human disasters across the globe, which challenged singular narratives, clichés and stereotypes.

Mr Owles said: “Winning the AHRC award is an amazing feeling and a fitting tribute to Anthony’s inspirational work. The whole team have poured a lot of love and energy into the project and it feels particularly special for the film to have received such a high-profile award.”

Read more about this research

Please contact Internal Communications if you or one of your colleagues would like to appear in this monthly feature. This is open to all staff – professional and academic.

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