World Changers: Celebrating impactful research | Researcher spotlight part four

We continue to look at the work of those who contributed to the collection of essays exploring research at Leeds, and how it is helping to change the world. 

The essay collection was curated by Vice Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk

World Changers

World Changers: Celebrating Impactful Research features 13 essays by early-career researchers working across an array of disciplines to make the world a fairer and more equitable place.   

The authors’ areas of expertise are wide-ranging and diverse, but the common thread tying them together is a vision of a better future for humanity, working together to tackle inequalities and create a fairer future for all

In this series of features we’ll profile each researcher and their contribution to the collection in more detail. 

Dr Lucy Ziegler, in black, in front of a red colour splash

Dr Lucy Ziegler wrote A university without walls

The essay explores how St Gemma’s Hospice and Leeds joined forces to transform end of life care. 

It touches on the personal motivation behind her research and how it contributed to a landmark breakthrough when St Gemma’s became the world’s first University Teaching Hospice. 

She said: “I was delighted to be involved in the world changes essay series. It was a great way to showcase the St Gemma’s Academic Unit of Palliative Care and all it has achieved. It also enabled me to talk about how my personal circumstances led me to work in this field. I have always felt the best research endeavours are labours of the heart and mind and it is fantastic to read the Vice Chancellors’ most recent blog, which is strongly supportive of this ethos.   

“The St Gemma’s Academic Unit of Palliative Care is a collaboration between St Gemma’s Hospice and the University of Leeds and reflects much of what is central to the University’s new strategy – community, innovation and collaboration. Leeds strives to be a ‘University without walls’ and I hope this essay has helped demonstrate how much that can achieve.”  

Dr Ziegler’s research focusses on oncology and palliative care. The St Gemma’s Academic Unit of Palliative Care was established by Professor Mike Bennett in 2011, and Dr Ziegler was appointed as the first member of the research team. 

She was appointed to her current post – Associate Professor in Palliative Care – in 2018. 

Read A university without walls

Dr Cristina G Stefan, in white, in front of a blue colour splash.

Dr Cristina G. Stefan contributed Preventing atrocities: How together we can take on this global challenge

While the last few years have seen a dramatic resurgence of violent atrocities across the world, her essay asks what it will take for the world to act together to stop such crimes.  

She said: “I really enjoyed writing my piece for the Vice-Chancellor Essay Collection as it was an opportunity not only to explain how this atrocity prevention project fits within my broader research on human protection at the global level, but also to explain how such academic endeavours need to be tackled by a wider audience.   

“Academic research can be regarded as a complex topic, explored in abstract terms. Its direct impact on policy and practice can often be overlooked. And yet, creating meaningful change to properly address complex and urgent global challenges – such as atrocity prevention – requires such topics to become accessible to everyone.  

“We read about devastating instances of human suffering across the world, in places like Yemen, Syria, Myanmar, Xinjiang in China and Tigray in Ethiopia, where atrocity crimes continue to be committed with impunity. Never before has the world witnessed so many desperate and active calls for protection of vulnerable populations targeted by their government forces.”  

The message Dr Stefan aimed to convey in her invited contribution to the World Changers collection is aligned with that of a “university without walls” – a central element of our University's new strategy. Specifically, that it is impossible to tackle global challenges without partnerships.  

She added: “As global challenges come, atrocity prevention is one of the world’s toughest.  

“Those of us studying global challenges can only tackle such topics by developing partnerships both within and outside academia and by having public conversations around these issues.” 

As Associate Professor of International Relations, Dr Cristina G. Stefan’s research spans across topics related to the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), peace, conflict and justice studies, global governance, gender, the United Nations and human protection.   

Read Preventing atrocities: How together we can take on this global challenge

You can read World Changers: Celebrating Impactful Research on Spotlight. 

The essays are also available as a audiobook series on our SoundCloud page. 

Read more about Research Transformed and how we are enabling our research to thrive in the future. 

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