Celebrate Our Staff – May 2020

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

Professor Susan Bernal Lopez has been recognised for her contribution to materials science and engineering

Professor Susan Bernal Lopez in the lab. May 2020.

Greener concrete researcher wins prize 

Professor Susan Bernal Lopez has been awarded the 2020 Rosenhain Medal and Prize by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3).

The prestigious prize is for her contributions to materials science and engineering.

Developing new cements and concretes that are greener and more durable is the focus of the research led by Professor Bernal Lopez, from the School of Civil Engineering, who is an EPSRC Early Career Fellow. Concrete is one of the most widely used materials in the world and, as a result, contributes to about 8% of the world’s global CO2 emissions.

By studying new low-carbon cements, Professor Bernal Lopez and her team aim to develop sustainable cement alternatives that can be produced from wastes or by-products from different industrial, mining or agricultural processes.

On winning the prize, she said: “I feel humbled and honoured to be the recipient of this prestigious award, in recognition of the distinguished contributions my team and I are making to the field of cementitious materials science.

“I have been privileged to work with amazing researchers from different fields throughout the years. This has broadened my approach to research in cement and concrete to drive innovation.”

You can learn more about the research Professor Bernal Lopez and her team are conducting on YouTube, and visit the School of Civil Engineering website for further information about her prize.

Dr Melanie Prideaux and Dr Kate Nash from the faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures. May 2020.Taking up new roles at Leeds are (from left) Dr Prideaux and Dr Nash 

Pro-Dean and Deputy Dean appointments

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (AHC) is celebrating two major appointments.

Dr Mel Prideaux is the new Pro-Dean for Student Education, while Dr Kate Nash has become Deputy Dean.

Dr Prideaux, who is currently the Deputy Pro-Dean for Student Education and is Associate Professor of Religious Studies, has been a student education leader throughout her time at Leeds, undertaking a wide variety of roles.

Her student education expertise is built on her previous career working in secondary education, after which she returned to academic study and pursued a part-time MA and PhD at Leeds, alongside working in prison and health education.

Of her appointment, Dr Prideaux said: “This is not an easy time to be a leader in student education, but I am doing so in an outstanding faculty, with depth, diversity and a huge commitment to our students and to education.

“The Arts and Humanities currently demand advocacy, celebration and leadership. I believe we can bring this to the sector.”

Dr Nash began her career as a broadcaster, creating content for radio, television and digital media before becoming an internationally recognised scholar in the field of documentary studies.

She has held key leadership roles in the School of Media and Communication since coming to Leeds in 2014, including Head of School.

Dr Nash said: “I am very excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the future success of the faculty as Deputy Dean. While still ‘young’, AHC has become a vibrant and innovative intellectual community.

“I look forward, in particular, to building on the fantastic work underway in the areas of equality and sustainability, collaborating with colleagues and students to produce positive change.”

An aerial shot of the Parkinson Building. May 2020.Leeds academics have been working hard to help fight the coronavirus pandemic 

Leeds researchers advising government 

Professor Iyiola Solanke (School of Law), Professor Mark Wilcox (School of Medicine) and Professor Cath Noakes (School of Civil Engineering) are both currently assisting the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) and its working groups.

SAGE gives advice to Ministers who are using it to make decisions about how to relax lockdown measures and combat the coronavirus (covid-19).

Professor Solanke sits on the expert group known as SPI-B, which provides advice aimed at anticipating and helping people adhere to interventions that are recommended by medical or epidemiological experts. 

Professor Wilcox sits on the hospital onset covid-19 and environmental working groups, while Professor Noakes is a member of SAGE and the hospital onset covid-19, environmental and children's working groups.

Other Leeds researchers advising Whitehall policymakers include Professor Mark Birkin (Leeds Institute for Data Analytics), Professor Garrett Brown (School of Politics and International Studies) and Professor Chris Gale (Leeds Institute for Data Analytics).

Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, said: "The fact that a number of the University's experts are providing analysis for SAGE is a tribute to the strength of the research endeavour at Leeds.

“At the heart of our research strategy is our commitment to play a leading role in tackling the big challenges facing the world, and at the moment, there is none any bigger than the threat from covid-19.

You can read more about our researchers helping to advise the Government on the University news page.

Professor Edgar Meyer, deputy Dean of LUBS. May 2020.Professor Edgar Meyer joins Leeds from Imperial College London

New Deputy Dean for LUBS

Leeds University Business School (LUBS) has announced Professor Edgar Meyer as its new Deputy Dean.

He joins the Business School’s Faculty Executive Group from Imperial College London, where he was Associate Dean UG Programmes and Education Quality for more than four years. Prior to this, he was a Professor at the University of Southampton and Director of the MBA suite of programmes.

Professor Meyer is an experienced management scientist, with particular expertise in human resource management, leadership, teamwork and change management.

His current research focuses mainly on Management Education, particularly on the interface of online learning and face-to-face learning.

As Deputy Dean, he will play a central role in the School’s leadership to enable academic development and continuous improvement, working closely with Executive Dean Professor Julia Bennell, and Pro-Deans Dr Iain Clacher, Cathy Myles and Professor Mark Stuart.

Professor Meyer said: “I am delighted to be joining the team at Leeds and being a part of the next phase of the School’s development. It will be a privilege to contribute to the ongoing success of the School and support Professor Bennell and the School in their ambitions.

“There are exciting opportunities ahead and I look forward to working with everyone on realising many of these."

You can find out more about the appointment on the LUBS website.

Leeds Partnership Awards 2020 winners. May 2020More than 2,800 nominations were received for this year’s Leeds Partnership Awards 

Leeds Partnership Awards 2020

Winners have been announced for the prestigious Leeds Partnership Awards 2020.

The coveted accolades celebrate those people who truly put into practice the Leeds Partnership – an agreement setting out our shared commitment to work together to support all aspects of our University community.

In previous years, the gala awards ceremony has been organised by Leeds University Union (LUU) as part of its Celebrate Week – seven days of ceremonies to mark the outstanding contributions of staff, students and postgraduate researchers towards achieving this shared goal.

But with lockdown restrictions in full force, this year’s celebrations moved online, with the ceremony held virtually via LUU’s Twitter page to ensure the hard work and dedication of the winners didn’t go unrecognised, even during these exceptional circumstances.

And with a record figure of more than 2,800 nominations received across 14 categories this year, there was plenty to celebrate.

Professor Tom Ward, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Education, said: “This year, more than ever, it’s important that we celebrate the Leeds Partnership and the fantastic ways in which colleagues and students work together across all of these categories.

“While we missed the opportunity to be together on campus during Celebrate Week, it’s great that we can still recognise and value the Partnership, shown in all of the nominations and especially demonstrated by those shortlisted.”

Discover the full list of winners and shortlisted nominees on For Staff.

The EC stoner and Roger Stevens Buildings on a sunny day. May 2020.

The Alumni team has been raising funds for current students facing particular hardship during the coronavirus pandemic 

Alumni team's major fundraising goal 

Our Alumni team has attracted more than 300 sponsors for its 2020 Student Support Fund

Efforts of team members, and the generous support of our community, have put them well on their way towards their £100,000 goal.

The fund is intended to help support students suffering financial hardship in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, particularly those who are vulnerable, isolated and in urgent need. Supporters will be contributing to everything from stationery to textbooks and essential living costs.

Alumni and Development Team Director of Development, Michelle Calvert, said: “It has been hugely rewarding to work with colleagues from across the University and LUU to launch our 2020 Student Support appeal.

“This fund will help to meet exceptional student financial needs, now and in the months ahead. 

“Response from across our global alumni and supporter community – including many members of staff – has been tremendous, and we look forward to building on this in the period ahead.”

Besides donations on its crowdfunding page, the campaign is also supplemented by online fundraising activities, such as the Leeds Alumni Quiz Challenge, hosted by winning members of the Christmas 2019 University Challenge team. 

Professor Chee Yew Wong from LUBS. May 2020.Professor Chee Yew Wong is celebrating a prestigious new appointment 

Editor-in-Chief appointment for LUBS Professor

Professor Chee Yew Wong has been appointed the new Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management (IJPDLM).

Professor Wong is currently the Director of the Centre of Operations and Supply Chain at Leeds University Business School (LUBS). He joined Leeds as a Professor of Supply Chain Management in 2012.

Before being appointed as the Editor-in-Chief, he was a Senior Associate Editor for IJPDLM.

IJPDLM is a leading research journal, bridging strategic areas of supply chain management, business logistics, marketing, sustainability, global trade and development in a way that builds knowledge on solving critical production and consumption problems.

Originally established in 1990, IJPDLM is one of the oldest academic journals in the field of logistics and supply chain management.

Professor Wong said: “I am honoured to be named the Editor-in-Chief of a prestigious journal that was created and developed by many of the gurus in my field.

“I hope to use this opportunity to foster meaningful research within the field and help create impacts in the society and businesses.”

Read more about his appointment on the LUBS website.

Dr Jay Prossler, winner of the 2020 Hazel Rowley Prize. May 2020.This year’s Rowley Prize went to Dr Jay Prossler

Breakthrough biography wins Hazel Rowley Prize

Dr Jay Prossler (School of English) has been recognised with a prestigious award from the Biographers’ International Organisation.

Dr Jay Prosser is the 2020 recipient of The Rowley Prize for his extensive family biography Empire’s Loving Strangers: Journeys Through an Asian-Jewish Camphorwood Chest.

The work, currently in pre-production, is an unfamiliar story of Jewishness across the wide canvas of Asia – from Iraq to India, Singapore and China – focusing on the individual lives and unique encounters of generations of his Jewish-Asian family.

The remarkable biography unravels his family’s many stories, drawn from the contents of a camphor-wood chest that his mother brought when migrating from Singapore to England.

Of his writing process, Dr Prossler said: “The main challenge for me is how to get the right balance of research and story: how much, and how, to include the techniques that make me a humanities scholar (critical insight, historical contextualisation, cultural analysis), while not detracting from the engaging story that every biography needs to be at the end of the day.”

As winner of The Rowley Prize, Dr Prosser will receive funding, a reading from an established agent, a year’s membership in the Biographers’ International Organisation and publicity for the project.

Find out more about Dr Prossler’s win on the on the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures website.

Professors Oliver Philips and John Plane, who have been elected to the Royal Society. May 2020.Professor Phillips and Professor Plane have been elected to the Royal Society

Professors elected to Royal Society

Professors Oliver Phillips and John Plane have been elected to the prestigious Royal Society in recognition of substantial contributions to their fields.

Professor Phillips’ (School of Geography) long-term research goal is to understand the dynamics of carbon and biodiversity across the world’s tropical forests, how these change with our changing climate, and how they may feedback on the whole planet.

He said: “This is an award to be shared. It reflects the tremendous contributions from many talented people I have been fortunate to work with over three decades, and all that we have achieved together.

“It recognises the collective effort which is helping us to understand much better some of the world’s most precious ecosystems, including how they are responding to climate change and have helped to slow it.

“In this era of unprecedented environmental change, my goals are to help build and support long-term and collaborative initiatives to better understand tropical ecosystems and the threats they face.”

Professor Plane (School of Chemistry) works on using experimental and theoretical physical chemistry to investigate phenomena in environments, ranging from planetary atmospheres to dust formation around stars.

He has pioneered techniques for studying gas-phase reactions of metallic species, and is a world-leading expert on the chemistry of metals that ablate from cosmic dust particles in upper atmospheres.

He said: “Being elected an FRS is a big honour for me, but more importantly it is a recognition of the research that I have been able to do over many years with a large number of outstanding students, colleagues and collaborators from all over the world.”

Read the full story.

Professor Lisa Collins, who has been elected as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. May 2020.Professor Lisa Collins’ work is rooted in her youth in north Wales

Learned Society of Wales Fellowship

The Learned Society of Wales (LSW) has elected Professor Lisa Collins – Head of the School of Biology – as a Fellow.

The Society aims to promote excellence and scholarship, as well as to inspire learning and benefit the nation of Wales.

Professor Collins is among a cohort of 45 academics, researchers and professionals to be welcomed into the Fellowship.

Existing Fellows were balloted for the election following a thorough examination of each nominee’s achievements in their relevant field.

Professor Collins said: “I am delighted to have been elected as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

“This honour has particular meaning for me; I was born and brought up in north Wales, as part of a large working class family with an agricultural and mining ancestry running back generations. Growing up in a beautiful but economically deprived area, I experienced first-hand the precariousness of the food system and its direct consequences for food insecurity, inequality and hunger.

“Since then, I have been drawn to understanding the complexities of agri-food systems and increasing sustainability and resilience through improved animal health and welfare, reduced environmental impacts and policy-driven incentivisation.

“I am excited about the new opportunities that Fellowship of the LSW will bring, for example opening up avenues to support third sector organisations in Wales to access research and expertise and develop work on evidence-based policy, particularly in relation to the agri-food sector. This will help to support a more secure food future in Wales – and beyond – for generations to come.”

A group of students on campus. May 2020.The Library's online resource focusing on Masters level academic skills and information literacy has been officially recognised

Information Literacy award celebration

Step Up to Masters an online resource developed by the Library’s Learning Services (Skills@Library) and Learning Technologies Teams to support student transition to taught postgraduate study has been awarded the prestigious Digital Award for Information Literacy for 2020.

The award recognises an innovative and high impact digital resource developed by a UK-based individual or group.

Step Up to Masters was launched in September 2019, with a particular focus on Masters level academic skills and information literacy development, and is designed to complement departments’ own induction and transition programmes

Development of the resource was informed by research conducted by the Library’s Learning Services Team in 2016/17 and 2017/18 – this included large-scale surveys and follow-up focus groups with Masters students at Leeds.

Step Up to Masters is designed to help Masters students reflect on their previous study experience, identify their strengths and areas for improvement, and explore opportunities at Leeds to further develop their academic skills and make a successful transition to Masters study. 

Dan Pullinger and Jiani Liu, who led the project in collaboration with Library colleagues, said: “We’re delighted to accept this award on behalf of the Learning Services and Learning Technologies Teams at Leeds. 

“It's very satisfying to be recognised by our peers for our work in creating a resource to support our large and diverse taught postgraduate community.

“We’d also like to thank the students and academic colleagues who contributed to the videos and provided us with valuable feedback.”

Read the full story.

We know there are great things happening to support the work of the University in these testing times. Please follow the staff Twitter account for examples of this and copy in our @UniLeedsStaff handle when posting success stories so we can share them with colleagues.

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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