Celebrate Our Staff – January 2024

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

The people who are part of Celebrate Our Staff January 2024: Natasha Merat, Judith Johnson, Chris Davies, Mark Wilcox, Binhua Wang, Rita de la Feria, Peter Giannoudis and Paul Emery

Featured this month:

Major award marks 10 years of impactful psychological research

Dr Judith Johnson

Dr Judith Johnson has been announced as the winner of the British Psychological Society’s May Davidson award.

Judith, from the School of Psychology, has been recognised for her work looking at wellbeing in the healthcare sector.

The May Davidson award is given to clinical psychologists who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the field of clinical psychology within the first 10 years of qualifying.

Since qualifying in 2013, Judith has worked to demonstrate the relevance of clinical psychology to enabling better healthcare outcomes.

Judith said: “I’m honoured to receive this incredible award from the British Psychological Society. Since I qualified, I have been able to collaborate with wonderful multi-disciplinary colleagues, exploring how clinical psychology can both contribute to, and learn from, the work of other healthcare professionals.

“This award reflects the last 10 years, but at this point I am mainly excited for what the next 10 years hold. Research work can be challenging and I want to express my gratitude to my wonderful co-researchers who make it an adventure.”

After finding that healthcare professionals and students were reluctant to engage with ‘generic’ psychological support, Judith developed the Reboot programme to help address the specific challenges faced by those working in the healthcare sector.

She also identified a gap in how news was delivered during pregnancy ultrasound appointments and developed the world’s first Consensus Guidelines on the topic – which have now been incorporated into recommendations for the Department of Health and Social Care’s Pregnancy Loss Review.

Judith has helped raise the profile of clinical psychology among other healthcare professionals and the wider public, giving many interviews about her work to national and international news outlets. 

Prestigious honour recognises new understanding of Earth’s evolution

Professor Chris Davies

Groundbreaking research into the evolution of Earth has earned a Leeds academic a major honour.

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) has awarded Professor Chris Davies the 2024 Price Medal for a series of investigations modelling the fluid dynamics and material properties of the Earth’s core.

Chris, Professor of Theoretical Geophysics in the School of Earth and Environment, conducted research that redefined the electrical and thermal conductivity of the Earth’s outer core, leading to profound consequences for our understanding of the thermal history of the Earth, how the liquid core convects and how the magnetic field is maintained. 

He discovered the Earth’s solid inner core is younger than previously thought, and that a magma ocean likely played a key role on early Earth and possibly other planets.

Chris said: “It’s a great honour to receive the Royal Astronomical Society’s Price Medal. 

“This award reflects a team effort, and I feel privileged to collaborate with the many talented individuals who’ve contributed to the work the RAS has recognised. 

“I’m also indebted to the many colleagues at Leeds, including those in Earth Science and the Leeds Institute for Fluid Dynamics, as well as my mentors Dave Gubbins, Cathy Constable and Jon Mound, for providing support and inspiration during the past decade and more. 

“I hope our work linking properties and processes in the deep Earth to long-term variations of the geomagnetic field can aid future efforts to better understand the evolution of Earth and other planets.”

Read the full story.

Leeds academic contributes to major national tax overhaul

Professor Rita de la Feria

Professor Rita de la Feria has been instrumental in the quest to reform Brazil’s antiquated and overly complex tax system, a system that served as a deterrent to investors. 

With a system generally regarded as one of the most complex in the world and pending tax litigation reaching 75% of the country’s GDP, reform couldn’t come quickly enough. 

Following years of legislative debate, over which Rita’s contribution was substantial, major taxation reform was approved by the Brazilian National Congress in December 2023. 

Rita, from the School of Law, said: “The approval of the tax reform is an historic moment for Brazil. 

“I am delighted for all those who worked so hard for this moment, but more importantly, for all Brazilians who may not yet know how important this reform is to them, but who will feel it, in their everyday lives, in the very near future. I am extremely honoured to have been given the opportunity to participate in that process.”

The reform revamps and simplifies the existing consumption tax system, in place since the 1960s, reducing the compliance cost for business.

It is widely believed that the new taxation system will reduce the barriers to doing business in Brazil and lead to a boost in economic growth while reducing inequalities in Latin America’s largest economy.

Transport professor takes up fellowship at key partner university

Professor Natasha Merat

Professor Natasha Merat has been awarded an International Excellence Fellowship from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

Natasha, from the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS), was selected by KIT’s board to receive the fellowship as part of its ‘University of Excellence’ concept.

As part of the fellowship, she will spend time at KIT.

Natasha said: “As part of our strategic relationship, I have been working with two PhD students from KIT, who have conducted studies at Leeds, using our simulators. My fellowship will take our relationship to the next level, creating new exchange and collaboration opportunities between Leeds, KIT and its partner universities. 

“During my visit I will provide some talks, and organise a series of workshops between KIT, its partners, and my own collaborators from industry and universities in Germany.”

An experimental psychologist and research group leader of the Human Factors and Safety Group at ITS, Natasha studies factors such as driver distraction and driver impairment, and is an internationally recognised expert in studying the human factor implications of highly automated vehicles.

Based on the idea that excellence hinges on the global exchange of research by academics, the fellowship programme is designed to create greater collaboration with KIT’s partner universities.

Over a number of years, the University of Leeds has forged a strong relationship with KIT and last year the partnership was expanded to take advantage of the world-leading expertise at both institutions.

Academy membership for translation professor

Professor Binhua Wang

Professor Binhua Wang has been elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Binhua, from the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, has been elected to the organisation in recognition of his work on interpreting and translation studies.

The European Academy of Sciences and Arts is a non-governmental association dedicated to promoting scientific and societal progress. 

Coming from a variety of fields including humanities, natural sciences and engineering, members are recognised for their dedication to innovative research, interdisciplinary collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. 

Binhua said: “It is a great honour to be elected to the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. It’s not just a recognition of my own academic achievements but also of the subject area of interpreting and translation studies at the University of Leeds.”

Binhua’s research interests focus on interpreting and translation studies, with occasional interdisciplinary work on digital humanities, Chinese studies, translated literature and intercultural communication.

His work has been published in several leading journals, as well as having guest edited several editions, and he has become one of the most prolific authors in Chinese interpreting and translation studies.

Colleagues celebrate New Year Honours recognition

Colleagues celebrate New Year Honours. January 2024

Professors Paul Emery, Mark Wilcox and Peter Giannoudis

Leeds professors Paul Emery, Mark Wilcox and Peter Giannoudis will receive New Year Honours for their groundbreaking work in the health sector.

The three colleagues from the Faculty of Medicine and Health have all been recognised for their academic efforts.

Paul, whose research on early intervention in inflammatory arthritis has been adopted around the world, has been awarded a CBE for services to rheumatology.

He is Versus Arthritis Professor of Rheumatology at the Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Disease at the University and is also a former director of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), Leeds Biomedical Research Centre and past president of the European Society for Rheumatology.

Mark has been awarded an OBE for services to healthcare, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. He is the National Clinical Director for Infection Prevention and Control at NHS England and chaired the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) Sub-Committee on Hospital Onset COVID Infection.

He said: “I’m humbled and surprised by this award, which would not have happened without the support of the University, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT), my colleagues and family.

“We have to ensure the medical work and research we carry out at the University and LTHT continues and that we build on our reputation as a renowned centre of excellence.”

Peter, Professor of Trauma and Orthopaedics in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, has been awarded an MBE for services to trauma and orthopaedic surgery.

Founder of Day One Trauma Support, which helps those affected by major physical trauma to rebuild their lives, he’s also an Honorary Consultant and head of clinical trials at Leeds General Infirmary.

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 fill out our Celebrate Our Staff nomination form 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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