Celebrate Our Staff – March 2021

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

IMC director Dr Axel Muller has been recognised for his service to medieval studies

International Medieval Congress (IMC) director, Dr Axel Muller, at a welcome address for IMC 2016. Uploaded March 2021.

Award for service to Medieval Studies

International Medieval Congress (IMC) director, Dr Axel Muller, has received a prestigious award for outstanding service to medieval studies after 25 years in the role.

He’s been presented with the 2021 Medieval Academy of America Committee on Centers and Regional Associations (CARA) Award, given for leadership in developing, organising and promoting medieval studies.

This is the first time in the 20-year history of the prize that it has been awarded outside North America. 

Dr Müller said: “I’m very honoured to receive this award, and I accept it on behalf of everybody who has made the IMC the success that it is.

“A sign of our strength is that we continue to make the IMC possible – whatever the restrictions worldwide. That is a credit to the fantastic team I have around me, and I want to thank them for their continued dedication and hard work.”

IMC 2021 will once again run virtually after a successful move online in 2020.

It’s one of the biggest online academic conferences in the world this year, taking climate as its theme.

The programme is now available and registration is open.

Read the full story

Shared research data yields rewards

Chris Gale April 2019Professor Chris Gale was named as one of 10 recipients of a prestigious award

Professor Chris Gale has won a prestigious Vivli Global Data Sharing Innovator Award.

Recognition comes for a paper that examined the association of oral anticoagulation on outcomes in people with atrial fibrillation, according to their frailty status.

Professor Gale and colleagues applied to use data – provided by Vivli – from an international, randomised, controlled trial to help conduct the study.

The Global Data Sharing Innovator Award was one of two prizes initially announced in 2018 for the Vivli Data Analysis Challenge, designed to encourage researchers to make use of the data the platform provides.

Professor Gale said: “I’m proud that our work and early adoption of the platform has been recognised in this way.

“The success of studies like this really helps to demonstrate the benefits of sharing research data internationally, as well as the collaborative potential in open access research.”

The award was won by the first 10 lead investigators whose research requests to Vivli resulted in publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Vivli is an independent, non-profit organisation that has created a data-sharing and analytics platform to help share data from completed clinical trails between members of the international research community.

Find out more

Research excellence recognised

A profile image of Professor Susan Short. Uploaded March 2021.Professor Susan Short leads the team

Leeds has been recognised as a centre of excellence in the way it integrates research and treatment for difficult-to-cure brain tumours.

The award has been made by the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission and is a tribute to the way scientists at the University and clinical staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust work together to bring cutting-edge insight and therapies to patients.

The team is led by Susan Short, Professor of Clinical Oncology and Neuro-Oncology in the School of Medicine.

She said: “We are immensely proud of the excellent care delivered by the whole neuro-oncology team in Leeds and are very pleased to be able to contribute to a national effort to improve the experience of all brain tumour patients through designation as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence.”

The clinical research they undertake is highly integrated with brain tumour research at Leeds, with a focus on understanding and developing new treatments for poor prognosis brain cancer. 

The Mission was founded in response to a call for action by the late Baroness Tessa Jowell, who died from the disease in 2018. She called for improved brain tumour treatment, research and survival in patients. 

Its aim is to design a new national strategy for brain tumours and is committed to helping as many hospitals as possible achieve the ‘excellence’ status in the future.

Read the full story

Interim Executive Dean announced  

A profile picture of Professor Mark Kearney in the Sustainability Garden. Uploaded March 2021.Professor Mark Kearney will remain Dean of the School of Medicine in addition to his new role

Professor Mark Kearney has agreed to take on the role of Interim Executive Dean for the Faculty of Medicine and Health until the end of August 2022.   

He has held leadership roles within the School of Medicine for many years and is currently the Dean of the School – a role he will retain during the interim period.

His appointment aligns with the timing of Professor Paul Stewart starting his new role as the Vice-Chancellor’s Adviser on Health Policy.

Professor Kearney said: “From all of us in the faculty, I would like to thank Paul for his energy, passion for our students and research, and helping us to change the way we think about ourselves and our potential as a Medical School and faculty.

“While staying as Dean, I will hand the day-to-day running of our school to Professor Laura Stroud. She will be supported by our brilliant institute directors and the rest of the school team, who have supported us all so much during the past few years.

“In the next 18 months, I hope to use our Vice-Chancellor’s template of collaboration across our faculty to achieve more impact for some of the most vulnerable members of society. Our VC is committed to our whole University collaborating to reduce inequalities at a local, national and global level.”

New Astbury Centre Director appointed

A profile picture of Professor Neil Ranson. March 2021.Professor Neil Ranson, new Director of the Astbury Centre

Professor Neil Ranson has been appointed Director of the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology.

Professor Ranson joined Leeds as a University Research Fellow in 2002 and has been a member of the Astbury Centre ever since. 

He was previously Professor of Structural Molecular Biology and has helped establish the University as a major force in using cryo-electron microscopy for structural discovery.  

Welcoming the appointment, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Nick Plant, said: “I am delighted that Neil accepted this position.  

“His vision for the continued development of Astbury over the next strategic period was compelling, with a clear alignment to the University Strategy around culture, community and impact.  

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Sheena Radford for her exemplary leadership of Astbury over the last nine years.”

Professor Ranson said: “I’m absolutely delighted to get the chance to help take Astbury into the future.  

“I’m looking forward to building an even more vibrant community, working across disciplines to tackle the toughest problems in biological and biomedical discovery science.”

Professor Radford added: “Neil has played a huge role in developing the Astbury Centre strategy in recent years, and I’m absolutely delighted that he will now be leading us in delivering that vision. 

“The centre couldn’t be in better hands.”

Professor Ranson took up the post on Friday 19 March.

NIHR committee chair appointment

A profile picture of Professor Julia Brown, Chair of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Funding Committee. Uploaded March 2021.Professor Julia Brown, HTA Funding Committee Chair

Professor Julia Brown has been appointed as the new Chair of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Funding Committee.

The HTA Programme funds research that is immediately useful to patients, clinical practice and policy or decision makers.

HTA research is undertaken when evidence exists to show that a technology – such as drugs, devices, procedures or settings of care – can be effective.

The purpose of an HTA study is to establish the clinical- and cost-effectiveness for the NHS in comparison with the current best alternative, or alternatives.

A study may also investigate uncertainty around a technology’s place in the existing care pathway.

Professor Brown said: “I am delighted to be taking on this new role and am really looking forward to working with colleagues to support the conduct of high-quality health technology assessment.”

Her appointment will be for three years.

Recognising excellence: Our Women of Achievement 2021

Women of Achievement Awards 2021 | Our special celebrants. March 2021The awards returned for the sixth year

Outstanding achievements of 28 colleagues have been recognised during a special online ceremony.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, provided a welcome and introduction at this year’s Women of Achievement Awards, which were co-hosted by Professor Louise Bryant, University Academic Lead for Gender Equality, and Gillian Neild, Co-Chair of the Women at Leeds Network.

Held for the sixth time, the awards aim to acknowledge and celebrate women who share a common commitment to excellence and have performed outstandingly in their fields, whether this be in research, student education or student experience, scholarship, international strategies, leadership of key University initiatives, or supporting administrative and technical activities.

The awards highlight the significant contributions and impact the recipients have made across the University and beyond.

The women receiving awards were all nominated by their peers, and are once again drawn from across the University, from a range of academic and professional colleagues, highlighting how excellence is being achieved throughout the institution.

Profiles of each of the Women of Achievement Awards 2021 celebrants, including details about why they each received an award and their reaction to the announcement, will be published on For Staff during the coming weeks.

Read the full story, including a list of this year’s celebrants.

New Head of School of Civil Engineering

A shot of Professor Carlo Prato against a city skyline in the background. Uploaded March 2021.Professor Carlo Prato will take up the post in September

Professor Carlo Prato has been appointed Head of the School of Civil Engineering.

He is Professor of Transportation Engineering, with research interests in transport modelling, travel behaviour and traffic safety. 

He joins us from the University of Queensland in Australia, where he has headed the School of Civil Engineering, after previous appointments at the Technical University of Denmark and the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel. 

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

“Carlo’s leadership experience will be hugely valuable to the Faculty and School of Civil Engineering, as we emerge from the pandemic and work together towards achieving the new University strategy.  

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

Professor Prato said: “I am really excited to be able to take up the Head of School role at the University of Leeds. 

“I look forward to joining colleagues in the school, the faculty and the University in the ongoing efforts towards educating the future leaders who will shape our world and tackling the challenges that affect our natural and built environment on a global scale.”

Professor Prato will join the University on Wednesday 1 September. 

Outgoing Head of School, Professor M. Basheer, steps down from his role at the end of March to take up a number of external appointments.

Professor Phil Purnell has agreed to be Acting Head of School from Thursday 1 April until the end of August.

Praise for graduates

Great Hall in summerColleagues from across the University have successfully graduated

Congratulations to more than 20 of our colleagues who have graduated from Leeds’ Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP).

During the past 14 months, participants have been reflecting on teaching and academic practice, and undertaken individual pedagogical research projects.

As a result, they have been awarded a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and continue to experience the impact of the programme on their student education practice.

Some of the graduates have also praised the efforts of the PGCAP team.

Dr Muhammad Tausif, Director of Taught Postgraduate Programmes in the School of Design, said: “The whole PGCAP team provided a rich experience and it continues to impact on my teaching practice. The enthusiasm, pragmatism and innovation was much appreciated.”

Library Research Support Advisor, Deirdre Andre, added: “The programme has had a huge impact on my teaching. 

“Thank you to all of the PGCAP team for all your excellent, high-quality teaching and support with learning over the duration of the course.”

The PGCAP is a post-induction programme for colleagues who make a significant contribution to Student Education.

The programme has run since September 2018 and involved colleagues from all across the University, giving them the chance to draw on varied experience and diverse disciplines, while sharing their practice and learning together – as well as from each other. 

Read the full story and see the list of graduates.

Applications are currently open until Monday 31 May to join our next PGCAP cohort in September.

Going the extra mile to support students

A group of students working in a medical lab. Uploaded March 2021Colleagues from Faculty of Medicine and Health have been supporting students working in the NHS as part of their degree

Colleagues from the Faculty of Medicine and Health have been praised for supporting students over the last year.

At the onset of the cdovid-19 pandemic, it was clear that students who work in the NHS as a part of their degree faced significant pressures – the loss of employment, radical alterations to placements, working with severely ill patients – as well as a greater risk to their own health.

In discussions between the Alumni and Development Team and the Faculty, Dr Laura Treadgold, Pro-Dean for Student Education identified the needs of this particular group. Both teams worked together to establish a fund supported by donations to offer students in this position financial and emotional support. 

The incredible response of faculty staff meant that within weeks an application review panel was up and running, ensuring students could access much-needed hardship funding and offering enhanced access to the University’s counselling service.

To date, the NHS Student Workforce fund has received nine donations worth a total of more than £138,000, made 156 direct awards to students in hardship and supported the increased dedicated time available from two members of counselling service’s staff for these students.

Michelle Calvert, Director of Development, said: “Faculty colleagues were already incredibly busy due to the pandemic. It is testament to their dedication to their students that they have been prepared to take on this extra work to help them.

“Donors to the fund can be very proud that their generosity is being so well directed in support of the next generation of NHS professionals.”

Read more on the University’s fundraising campaign website

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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