Celebrate Our Staff – April 2022

Join us as we celebrate our colleagues’ achievements across the University from the past few weeks.

Dr Sara González, Dr Effie Papargyropoulou and Suzannah Turner have joined the Executive Group

Dr Sara González, Dr Effie Papargyropoulou and Suzannah Turner have joined the Executive Group.

Featured this month:

•    Three new appointments in the Global Food and Environment Institute
•    Weight stigma expert gives evidence to Government inquiry
•    Celebrating PGCAP graduates
•    Prize for biological physics engagement
•    Cycling across America
•    The Leeds Partnership Awards 2022: Shortlist announcement

Three new appointments announced 

The Global Food and Environment Institute (GFEI) is delighted to announce three new appointments to its Executive Group.

GFEI welcomes Dr Effie Papargyropoulou (School of Earth and Environment) and Dr Sara González (School of Geography) as joint Associate Directors for Urban Food Systems. Suzannah Turner (Faculty of Biological Sciences) has been appointed as the Research and Innovation Development Manager for the National Pig Centre (NPC).

The new Associate Directors will focus on developing the Urban Food Observatory, which aims to collect and analyse information about the urban food system, patterns of food sourcing and use.

Dr Parpargyropoulo said: “This role will give me the opportunity to work with Sara and lead a transdisciplinary community of practice on Urban Food Systems to co-design and co-produce interdisciplinary, challenge-led, impact-focused, transformative research. 

“I hope this research will contribute to fair, healthy, environmentally sustainable, economically viable and resilient urban food systems that deliver food security locally and globally.”

Dr González added: “I can’t wait to meet and work with colleagues across the University to make our food systems fairer and more sustainable in cities. It’s an incredibly important challenge. Working in collaboration with Effie is going to make this role even more interesting!”

Suzannah’s new role as Research and Innovation Development Manager at the NPC will shape the strategic research direction, maximise research impact and drive the growth of external income through collaboration with industry partners.

Suzannah said: “I’m really looking forward to shaping the strategic research direction of the centre and watching it develop into a thriving, flagship space for sustainable animal research in the UK.” 

These new appointments are an exciting next step for GFEI and support the delivery of the institute’s strategic aims. These are to help achieve the connected UN Sustainable Development Goals of Zero Hunger, Good Health, Climate Action and Life on Land, by working in partnership, locally to globally. 

Please contact globalfood@leeds.ac.uk for further information.

Weight stigma expert gives evidence to Government inquiry

Dr Stuart Flint addressing the Parliamentary committee.The Health and Social Care Committee’s first hearing was addressed by Dr Stuart Flint

Dr Stuart Flint has called on the Government to tackle weight stigma and introduce long-term policies that recognise the chronic, multifaceted nature of obesity. 

He gave evidence at the Health and Social Care Committee’s first hearing in its inquiry into the impact of body image on physical and mental health, where there was a significant focus on weight stigma and discrimination. 

The inquiry is also examining why weight stigma can be a barrier to accessing healthcare support.

Dr Flint said “This is a long overdue inquiry, and one that I welcome. 

“Weight stigma and discrimination is well evidenced as impacting mental and physical health, as well as leading to maladaptive behaviours. 

“The evidence is clear – it has a detrimental impact and this is juxtapose to the common misconception that it can lead to increased motivation to engage in weight management, plus it’s an independent risk factor.”

At the hearing, chaired by former Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, Dr Flint spoke about the prevalence, pervasiveness and impact of weight stigma. 

He described how the framing of obesity in policy and in the media contributes to the development and maintenance of weight stigma attitudes, which can lead to discriminatory actions.

In particular, he explored the framing of obesity and use of language in healthcare, which can have a counterproductive impact on interventions and behaviour change.  

The committee also heard about mental health issues around body image, and discussed the potential benefits and harms of including calorie numbers on restaurant menus.

Dr Flint added: “We need to challenge the simple eat less and move more rhetoric. The UK Government’s own Foresight Report from 2007 demonstrated that there are over 100 different factors that can cause weight gain and obesity, and that these factors are complex, including genetics, environmental, social, economic and psychological. 

“The ingrained nature of weight stigma in our society means that change is needed across all levels, from policy to practice, and in many settings, including education and workplaces, where people experience weight stigma and discrimination.”

The hearing is available to watch in full on the parliament.tv website. 

Read the full story  

Celebrating PGCAP graduates

A group of people collaborate on some work on campus.Colleagues have completed a course designed to reflect and enhance teaching practice

Congratulations to six colleagues who have graduated from the University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP).

They’ve all taken part in the course designed to reflect and enhance their teaching practice and to deliver a pedagogical research project. As a result, they’ve also been awarded a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Congratulations to:

  • Dr Adam Booth (School of Earth and Environment)
  • Joel Capener (Lifelong Learning Centre)
  • Dr Meenakshi Sarkar (Leeds University Business School)
  • Masoud Behman (School of Dentistry)
  • Dr Richard Bishop (School of Medicine)
  • Dr Ruth Norman (School of Biomedical Science)
  • Dr Sean Sinclair (Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied (IDEA) Centre).

PGCAP Programme Leader, Victoria Taylor, said: “The PGCAP team is incredibly proud of our latest group of graduates, who’ve demonstrated outstanding commitment to the programme across a disrupted PGCAP journey due to the pandemic.  

“This journey has involved reflecting on how to build upon their strengths in student education and how to transfer these strengths across various aspects of their practice, as well as reflecting on areas for development and working on specific 
enhancements to support these elements.  

“It has been a pleasure to work alongside participants as they’ve explored their practice in great depth, whilst developing a community of learning and support for one another.”

The PGCAP is a post-induction programme for colleagues who make a significant contribution to student education at Leeds.

Visit the PGCAP webpage for further details about the programme and how to apply. 

The closing date for applications to join the next cohort is Tuesday 31 May. Please contact pgcap@leeds.ac.uk for further information.

Biological physics engagement prize

Professor Lorna Dougan in front of a brick wall.Professor Lorna Dougan has been honoured for her work in developing creative public engagement resources

Professor Lorna Dougan (School of Physics and Astronomy) has been awarded the British Biophysical Society (BBS) Elspeth Garman Prize for Public Engagement for her pioneering work in developing and delivering creative public engagement resources to diverse communities. 

The prize is awarded every two years and recognises excellence in biological physics engagement. 

She said: “I’m over the moon and honoured to receive the BBS Elspeth Garman Prize for Public Engagement. 

“The prize reflects hugely enjoyable team efforts, as well as our love of interdisciplinary and creative research. Special thanks to the University’s Engaged Research team, too.” 

Professor Dougan has led innovative projects at Leeds that are designed to share the creativity of scientific research, as well as engage a wider community with the creative process.

For example, in the SAWstitch project, Professor Dougan – collaborating with PhD students Christa Brown and Kalila Cook, as well as colleague Dr Paul Beales – developed an activity that embraces creative thinking to explore self-avoiding walks through the medium of hand embroidery. 

Self-avoiding walks are used to study biological networks and have provided inspiration to scientists, artists and designers. Professor Dougan’s team developed resources to introduce the physics of self-avoiding walks – and an activity that uses materials from hand embroidery – to explore these concepts. 

The project has been published in the Institute of Physics journal Physics Education, and, with the support of our public engagement team, the kits to create the embroideries have been shared with 300 families in the Leeds and Bradford area, about 300 students in local schools and with more than 100 members of the public, both nationally and internationally. 

The embroidery formed part of a Gallery of Soft Matter at the American Physical Society annual meeting in Chicago in March 2022, which attracted 12,000 physicists through an in-person and virtual platform.

Cycling across America

Antony Butcher, from SES, poses on the bicycle he will use to cycle across America for charity.Antony Butcher is currently cycling solo from New York to San Francisco

Antony Butcher – a member of the Student Education Service (SES) – is embarking on a solo bike ride from New York to San Francisco to raise mental health awareness and funds for the MS Society.  

The trip was originally planned to take place in 2020, but the pandemic forced Antony to postpone. 

Now he’s finally saddled up, and set off from New York on Saturday 23 April. 

The journey is scheduled to last about three months, during which he’ll travel through 17 states, cover more than 3,900 miles and climb the height of Mount Everest three times!  

Antony’s mum was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) when he was about 14 years old. 

He said: “I’ve been charity fundraising for the MS Society since I was a teenager. In every way this is the most challenging fundraising adventure I’ve taken on.  

“This is a completely solo trip – I’ve planned the route myself and it will just be me, my bike, a couple of bottles of water and as much sun cream as I can carry! But if I can help stop other people going through what my mum and I have gone through then it will all be worthwhile.”      

Antony has led on student support and wellbeing activities in various schools at Leeds. He also won a Leeds Partnership Award in 2020, recognising his dedication to raising mental health awareness and supporting individuals at the University.
While on his travels, he will aim to talk to various schools and community groups about the importance of mental health. He hopes this will encourage others to be open about their feelings, while also helping prevent loneliness setting in while he’s on the road. 

Donations for the MS Society can be made via Antony’s JustGiving page. You can also follow his progress on social media.

Leeds Partnership Awards 2022: Shortlist announcement

Leeds Partnership Awards 2022. A young man smiles while at a desk.This year’s Leeds Partnership Awards shortlist has been announced

After receiving a host of inspirational nominations for this year’s Partnership Awards, Leeds University Union (LUU) has announced the shortlisted nominees for 2022.

The full awards shortlist announcement is available on the LUU website. 

The annual Leeds Partnership Awards celebrate the achievements of staff and students 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. From equality and inclusion to feedback and assessment, these prestigious awards recognise the people who go above and beyond in every area of University life.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education, Professor Jeff Grabill, said: “Huge congratulations to everyone nominated, and particularly those who have been shortlisted. There have been so many inspirational submissions!

“Having the opportunity to recognise some of the remarkable and collaborative work happening across our entire community will be fantastic and I’m really looking forward to celebrating those who go above and beyond to make sure our students love their time at Leeds.

“It’ll be great to see everyone at the event and honour their achievements in person.”  

By being nominated for one of these prestigious awards, staff and students are acknowledged for their successes outside of traditional markers, such as grades or performance reviews, adding to their sense of wellbeing and belonging at Leeds. 

The winners will be announced during a special ceremony on Monday 9 May.

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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