January 11, 2016, by Michael Jennings

A warm hello from Professor Dame Jessica Corner

In this blog post, Professor Dame Jessica Corner DBE introduces herself as the University’s new Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange.

I’d like to extend a warm hello to all University of Nottingham staff and students as I take up my new position as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange. The University is internationally recognised for its world-class research, with significant knowledge transfer successes and I’m delighted to be able to work with you to lead and develop this impressive research and knowledge exchange portfolio.

I’m excited by both the opportunities and the challenges that lie ahead, and I very much look forward to strategically driving the research and knowledge exchange agendas with colleagues from across the institution, as well as external stakeholders and organisations, to support the delivery of the University’s Global Strategy 2020.

Over the coming weeks and months I will have the opportunity to meet with many of you and I’m keen to hear your views and thoughts on both the research, and knowledge exchange strategies – how these are currently developing, and how we can work together to ensure that we deliver the objectives as outlined.

I will be looking to set up regular communications which will allow for the sharing of news, success stories, current and future opportunities, and emerging challenges — so together we can celebrate these successes, work on the challenges, and grasp the opportunities.

I’m keen to hear your ideas on how we can propel Nottingham’s research to the next level, and continue to fulfil our ambition to be a world-leading, world-changing, research-led University. I also want to explore how we can build on our current Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, and develop and sustain new and existing relationships with both SMEs and corporate contacts.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on what you see as the opportunities to have true global impact through our research and knowledge exchange activities, and what you think are the current barriers to delivering this. More will follow on how we will facilitate the sharing of ideas, thoughts and views amongst our research and knowledge exchange community.

There are some uncertainties ahead, for although the Comprehensive Spending Review of 2015 protected the budget for science in real terms, the government’s proposal to introduce a new body, Research UK, to work above and across the seven Research Councils will bring its own challenges, and indeed opportunities. As a University we will be responding to the consultation on these proposals in the hope of helping to shape thinking nationally. In addition, the proposed review of the Research Excellence Framework will examine how to simplify and reduce the burden of assessment and as such also has implications for our research, the way it is assessed and thus funded.

Working together we can overcome these challenges, take the opportunities and continue to strive to ensure we put research excellence and our industry partnerships at the heart of what we do, attract the best and most passionate researchers and staff to live and work at The University of Nottingham, and continue to invest in our infrastructure and environment. This will ensure that we as an institution are ready to tackle today and tomorrow’s global challenges, and achieve our research ambitions on the international stage.

Finally, I would like to thank Professor Kevin Shakesheff for all his efforts as interim PVC over the last six months alongside his role as Faculty PVC for Science, and for his support in helping me make sense of things as I have been preparing to join this wonderful University.

I look forward to working with you all.

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, DBE, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & Knowledge Exchange)

Dame Jessica has over 30 years’ experience in higher education. She was one of the first students to graduate with a degree in Nursing from London University and then went on to specialise in cancer nursing at the Royal Marsden Hospital before completing her PhD at King’s College. She was Director of the Centre of Cancer and Palliative Care Studies at the Institute of Cancer Research, London for 12 years and was the first nurse to be appointed to a Chair at the Institute. She joined the University of Southampton in 2002 as Professor of Cancer and Palliative Care.

Throughout her career her research has focused on improving the care and support for people with cancer; mostly recently Dame Jessica’s focus has been on health outcomes following treatment for cancer as part of national and international efforts around cancer survivorship. In 2005 she was seconded to the charity Macmillan Cancer Support to work as Director of Improving Cancer Services and has since advised the charity as its Chief Clinician. In 2008 she became Head of the School of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton and was appointed as executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences in 2010.

Dame Jessica holds key national roles: Chair of the Council of Deans of Health and Chair of HEFCE Health Education Advisory Committee. She was awarded a DBE in 2014 for services to Health Care Research and Education and elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015.

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