Celebrate Our Staff – January 2021

Here we celebrate our colleagues’ achievements across the University in December 2020 and January 2021.

Professor Sheena Radford has received a five-year research award

A profile image of Professor Sheena Radford. January 2021.

Prestigious Royal Society research award

The UK's leading scientific academy – the Royal Society – has announced that Professor Sheena Radford is to receive one of its most prestigious research awards.

The Research Professorship will enable Professor Radford, Director of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, to develop new techniques to explore one of the big unanswered questions in biology: the role a certain protein structure plays in both building memories, and in the devastating memory loss experienced by people with neurodegenerative diseases.

Professor Radford said: “Proteins are the workhorses of life – there are tens of thousands of proteins in the human body. They come together in fleeting interactions to carry out the vital chemical and signalling processes necessary for life.

“The aim of the research is to develop new experimental approaches that will enable us to visualise and map those interactions in real time within cells and tissues.

“When we have that information, we can begin to understand how the complex choreography of protein molecules gives rise to healthy life, and how aberrant protein behaviour can cause disease.”

Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor, said: “The award from the Royal Society is a recognition of the huge advances that Professor Radford and her team have made in understanding the structural and molecular basis of life.

“There aren’t many scientists who can say their research is opening up a new chapter in biology, but that is exactly what Professor Radford will be doing and I am proud that Leeds and the Astbury Centre is at the heart of that endeavour.”

Read the full story

New University Librarian announced

A profile picture of Masud Khokhar, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection. January 2021Masud Khokhar joins us from the University of York

We are pleased to announce that Masud Khokhar has been appointed University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection. 

Masud will be joining us from the University of York, where he has held the role of Director of Library and Archives since 2018.

He has extensive experience in leadership, strategy development and digital innovation, gained during a varied career with roles at the Bodleian Libraries, Lancaster University and the University of York.

Masud is also a member of the Board of Directors of Research Libraries UK (RLUK), where he leads on the Digital Scholarship theme.

Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, Professor Peter Jimack, said: “I am delighted that Masud has accepted this important position with us and am confident that, under his leadership, our library and collections will continue to play an ever more important role in University life: aligning with and supporting our refreshed strategy for the benefit of students and staff alike.”

Masud said: “I am excited about joining the University of Leeds at a time when it seeks to develop its future vision and strategy. 

“I look forward to working with you to position the University Library as a national and international leader, integral to the University of Leeds’ aims and ambition."

Masud’s predecessor, Dr Stella Butler, stepped down from her role at the end of December, and Masud will be joining us in April.

Penal reform appointment for healthcare expert

A profile image of Kathryn Waldegrave. January 2021Kathryn Waldegrave will join the PRI Advisory Council

Kathryn Waldegrave – a Lecturer in Adult Nursing since 2016 – has been invited to join the Advisory Council of Penal Reform International (PRI), an organisation working globally to promote and uphold human rights within criminal justice systems.

Kathryn joins human rights and criminal justice experts on the Council using her experience in prison healthcare, as well as her research interests, to help PRI achieve its ambitions.

She said: “When we think about the provision of health care, prisoners are a forgotten group but they often have very complex and diverse needs.

“I’m really looking forward to working alongside Penal Reform International to raise awareness and highlight the importance of having internationally consistent standards of health care in prisons.”

As a Registered Nurse, Health Visitor and Queen’s Nurse, Kathryn has a wide and varied clinical background and is drawing on her clinical practice experience in prison nursing to focus her PhD studies on the unique health needs of the older prison population.

She was part of the 2019 advisory group contributing towards the development of the PRI guidelines ‘Women in prison: mental health and well-being – a guide for staff’ (2020).

Kathryn was also a guest of PRI at the launch of the Global Prison Trends publication in 2019, where she spoke to delegates about the challenges of supporting and maintaining the health of people in prison.

Award for neuroscience expert

A picture of Professor Nikita Gamper in the lab. January 2021.Professor Nikita Gamper received recognition for his contribution to the province

Professor Nikita Gamper has been awarded the prestigious Yanzhao Friendship Award – the highest honour the provincial government in Hebei, China, awards foreign experts – for his work in neuroscience and pharmacology.

It recognises the outstanding contributions of foreign experts to the development of the province, and aims to promote international exchanges and cooperation in a range of fields.

Professor Gamper has held an adjunct professorship at the Department of Pharmacology, Hebei Medical University (HebMU) in Shijiazhuang, China, since 2011.

He also maintains a research group there which, like his one in Leeds, focuses on molecular mechanisms of pain.

He said: “In a normal year I’d spend two months there – I usually go for one month in the summer and one month over the Christmas break. This is, of course, on hold now and is replaced by Zoom and WeChat.

“My colleagues at the Department and at the HebMU in general are really great and over the years we have developed very cordial relationships, which are also very productive and mutually beneficial scientifically.

“My department in China nominated me for this award on the grounds of my contributions to the academic development and postgraduate education at the HebMU.

“I am humbled and very grateful, both for the nomination and the award, and would like to express my sincere thanks to both the colleagues who nominated me and the Hebei Province Government for the award.”

This collaborative work has produced some notable findings, including one that was included in Discover Magazine’s 100 top stories for 2017

New Head of School of Physics and Astronomy

A profile image of Professor Mark Thompson, new Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy. January 2021Professor Mark Thompson was previously at the University of Hertfordshire

Professor Mark Thompson has been appointed Head of School of Physics and Astronomy

Mark joins us from the University of Hertfordshire, where he has headed the School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics. 

He is an astrophysicist, whose research interests include far-infrared, radio and sub-mm astronomy and massive star formation.

Executive Dean of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Professor Nora de Leeuw, said: “I am very pleased that Mark has accepted the position and I would like to warmly welcome him to the University and our Faculty. 

“Mark’s leadership experience will be hugely valuable to the School of Physics and Astronomy in their move to the new Sir William Henry Bragg Building and the exciting opportunities in teaching and research arising from this new chapter in the School’s history. 

“I look forward very much to working with Mark in the future.”

Mark said: “I’m really pleased to be able to take up the Head of School role at such a pivotal time for the School of Physics and Astronomy as it moves into its new home.

“I’m looking forward to joining the University of Leeds and meeting you all after Easter.”

Mark’s predecessor, Professor Helen Gleeson, steps down from her role at the end of March, and Mark will join the University on 12 April.

Prestigious advanced fellowship award

A profile image of Dr Simon Pini. January 2021.The project will see Dr Simon Pini work closely with Leeds Youth Forum

Dr Simon Pini – a research fellow in Leeds Institute of Health Sciences (LIHS) – has recently been awarded a prestigious five-year NIHR Advanced Fellowship.

Dr Pini’s fellowship research will investigate the school lives of young people living with a chronic or life-limiting illness. Dr Pini will work with ten paediatric clinical groups associated with Leeds Children’s Hospital, along with collaborators at Leeds City Council.

He will work with Leeds Youth Forum, based at the LGI, which will help guide and shape the project.

An early stage of the research is a large-scale qualitative project where more than 100 young people from across the ten clinical groups will participate in interviews and focus groups to discuss the impact their health condition has on their school life.

Dr Pini said: “I’m delighted to have been awarded the fellowship and am looking forward to working with the young people and staff of Leeds Children’s Hospital.

“I am hopeful we can do some interesting work together and improve the school lives of young people living with chronic illness.”

His Fellowship will be based in Psychological and Social Medicine in LIHS, and supervised by Professor David Cottrell.

Dr Pini is a qualitative researcher and runs the Qualitative Reflective Practice Group in LIHS. He also teaches and supervises students in the School of Medicine.

Before entering academia, Dr Pini worked as a specialist learning mentor for the teenage and young adult cancer service at St James’s Hospital.

Project award to explore digital literary travel

A profile image of Dr Kimberly Campanello. January 2021.

Arts Council Ireland awarded Dr Kimberly Campanello project funding

Congratulations to Dr Kimberly Campanello, who has been awarded Arts Council Ireland funding to support a new collaborative project.

The Arts Council Ireland introduced the Literature Project Award in recognition of the changing landscape for literary work in Ireland, aiming to support projects that connect literature with readers and audiences. It allows writers and illustrators to research, develop and create work in new and innovative ways.

Poets Dr Campanello and Christodoulos Makris have been awarded the Literature Project Award to collaboratively explore space-time dimensions of travel in the age of the digital/anthropocene.

Dublin-based digital publisher Fallow Media will disseminate the result through a discrete digital publication to be released in late 2021.

Dr Campanello said: “I’m thrilled to work with Christodoulos Makris and Fallow Media during the next year to develop this innovative project that will allow us to travel the world, even in our current situation.

“Christodoulos and I are planning something that hopefully should feel both fresh and familiar to our fellow digital literary travellers.”

Read the full story

Literati Awards success

Associate Professor of Marketing Vaseileios (Bill) Davvetas. January 2021

Associate Professor Vasileios (Bill) Davvetas enjoyed great success in the 2020 Literati Awards

Associate Professor of Marketing, Vasileios (Bill) Davvetas, was a double award-winner in the 2020 Literati Awards.

Dr Davvetas’s awards include the IMR Outstanding Reviewer Award and the IMR Outstanding Paper Award for his paper ‘Global and local brand stereotypes: formation, content transfer, and impact’.

The paper establishes a process through which individual brands are assigned stereotypical judgments and demonstrates how these judgments impact critical brand outcomes and consumer-brand relationships.

Dr Davvetas said: “I am delighted to receive two awards from International Marketing Review, one of the most well-respected journals in the area of International Marketing.

“Beyond a research achievement, of which I am personally proud, I believe these awards showcase, in an excellent manner, the quality of the research conducted by the Global and Strategic Marketing Research Center and foster the Business School Marketing Division’s reputation for being one of the best schools globally in the field of International Marketing.”

The awards, from Emerald’s International Marketing Review, celebrate the outstanding contributions authors and reviewers make to the journal, as well as the body of knowledge itself.

Read the full story

Extraordinary Doctoral Award

A profile image of Dr Leopoldo Parada. January 2021

The University of Valencia has recognised Dr Leopoldo Parada

Dr Leopoldo Parada has been awarded the Extraordinary Doctoral Award by the University of Valencia in Spain.

Dr Parada received the award for his doctoral thesis defended in 2017.

The Extraordinary Doctoral Award is granted to those doctoral theses of exceptional quality and merits in different areas of science across the university, and requires dissertations to be qualified as summa cum laude (with highest distinction) and proposed to the award by the unanimous and secret vote of the doctoral tribunal during the defence (viva).

The award is granted every two to three years, when a minimum of 10 eligible dissertations have been gathered. In this case, the selection period ran from 2017 to 2020. 

In addition, there is an assessment of impact, which is measured by related publications that come after the viva, and which are evaluated by different criteria, including the rankings of journals.

Dr Parada said: “I feel very honoured to receive this award, which represents a fresh wind to keep the work up in times when we all need some encouragement.”

Dr Parada’s doctoral thesis has been published under the title ‘Double Non-Taxation and the Use of Hybrid Entities. An Alternative Approach in the New Era of BEPS’ (Kluwer Law International, 2018).

This prize represents a second recognition of this kind that Dr Parada received for his doctoral thesis, as he was previously awarded the Universitè Paris 1 Pantheón-Sorbonne Award Best Doctoral thesis in Tax Law in 2018.

Inaugural School of Law PGR prize-giving

A screen grab from the School of Law PRG prize-giving event. December 2020

The event recognised the achievements of the School of Law’s postgraduate community

The School of Law held its inaugural Postgraduate Researcher (PGR) Prize-giving event in December.

The event was conducted online via Microsoft TEAMS and attendees were encouraged to dress up.

On the afternoon of Wednesday 9 December, the School of Law held its first ‘PGR Prize-giving’ event, to recognise and celebrate members of our Postgraduate Research community and their contribution to the School.

The event was organised by Andrew Bowdin, Dr David Pearce and Dr Henry Yeomans and was attended by 55 attendees from countries including China, India, Kuwait and Azerbaijan.

Prizes were given for ‘PGR’s PGR of the Year’, ‘Academic Performance’, ‘Contribution and Engagement’ and ‘Outstanding Thesis’.

The postgraduate researchers also took the opportunity to surprise Andrew with a compilation video thanking him for everything he does for the School’s postgraduate researcher community.

Andrew said: “You always wonder how well attended an online event is going to be – well, this was brilliant!

“We got a lot of positive feedback – we (Henry, David and I) were even complimented on our bowties! Many people had also dressed up or had festive backgrounds.

“I was also very surprised (and very moved) by a presentation that the PGRs had put together about me. We will certainly do this again next year.”

Read the full story and see the list of winners

Learning Technologist of the Year

The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) logo. January 2021.

ALT gave the special award in recognition of outstanding efforts in a difficult year

The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) gave a special award to all learning technologists to acknowledge the scale of challenges faced in 2020.

At Leeds, there are learning technologists in faculty and school roles, in the Digital Education Service (DES) and in the Organisational Development and Professional Learning (OD&PL) team.

Professor Neil Morris, Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Digital Transformation, said: “It is wonderful to see colleagues at Leeds and across the HE sector honoured in this way, underlining the critical role they play in preparing and delivering hybrid learning, both as technologists and educators.

“The term encompasses many different roles at Leeds and I’d like to extend my personal thanks to all of them.”

Examples of work by faculty learning technologists in 2020 include providing guidance to support colleagues through the pivot to online, co-ordinating access to remote working kit and contributing to university-level advice and guidance.

Colleagues at DES and faculty learning technology colleagues have worked closely with staff developers in OD&PL, supporting colleagues designing and delivering hybrid learning.

OD&PL learning technologists’ activities included supporting the move to remote working and effective use of technologies for business continuity, as well as providing guidance on student education.

They also established a cross-university community for sharing practice and accessing peer advice, guidance and support online (Teaching, Innovation and Practice in Student Education).

Read the full story

Get in touch!

We know there are lots of great things happening to support the work of the University – and we want to hear about them!

Please follow the staff Twitter account to see the latest updates and copy in our @UniLeedsStaff handle when posting success stories, so we can share them with colleagues.

You can also contact Internal Communications directly 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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