Jessica Corner

June 28, 2021, by Rob Ounsworth

Next steps in research strategy consultation, and tackling climate change

Update from Professor Dame Jessica Corner

Research strategy consultation

We continue to make good progress towards developing the university’s new research strategy. We are reviewing your inputs into the green paper consultation and conversations at a series of faculty-led town halls (responses from 1,600 colleagues and around 500 attendees).

Your insights are helping to identify the key drivers of our renewed research strategy and how we will achieve our goals.

Your suggestions include:

  • Cultivating a culture that nurtures and encourages researchers at all levels of seniority
  • Developing a vibrant research community that is supportive, inclusive and ambitious, across all career stages
  • A focus on real change and work with our partners to tackle big challenges that will make a difference

Next steps include writing the white paper that will set out more detail on our direction towards a high-performing, inclusive research ecosystem.

Consultation will continue with our research community and response to the white paper will be welcomed.

Further updates and resources can be found on our dedicated SharePoint pages, developing our research strategy.

COP26: help highlight our commitment to tackling climate change

The UK is hosting the most important event in the climate change calendar in November, when COP26, the UN Climate Change conference, comes to Glasgow. This is an unprecedented opportunity for our researchers working on challenges related to climate change to bring their work to the attention of governments and policymakers and to help shape the world’s response to the biggest crisis of our time.

We are home to a huge and diverse range of climate-related research with enormous social, technological, environmental and health-related implications. We wish to showcase the breadth and excellence of this work, while also focusing on net zero aviation as one of our strategic strengths in tackling the climate crisis.

The Institute for Policy and Engagement welcomes potential contributions to this campaign from across all schools and faculties. Institute staff will be available to support you to reach key stakeholders as well as a broad public audience. Formats might include a blog post focused on the policy implications of your work or a podcast interview.

If you have any questions, please contact Chris Sims, Deputy Director of the Institute.

Applications to have your work included in this exciting campaign should be made by Friday 30 July.

Find out more

Our vision for Digital Nottingham 

The university is today introducing Digital Nottingham, our endeavour to transform our city – its potential, the skills and ambitions of our community, and deliver growth and recovery – through data science, technology and innovation. As a place-based initiative aligned to the priorities of government and funders, this will see a new form of collaboration between the university and the city.

Digital Nottingham seeks to embrace a broad range of areas in which we can build partnerships to address key challenges from climate change to health care across a wide range of disciplines including mathematics, computer science, engineering, medicine and arts.

As we launch our Digital Nottingham programme, we are excited to announce our first two initiatives that will propel forward our frontier research collaborations in the area of financial services and financial technology – just one of the research themes of the programme.

A new partnership with KPMG, the UK’s leading business advisory firm, seeks to drive insight for clients and support the regional economic growth agenda. Research in partnership with KPMG will leverage data science to inform business decision-making. At the same time, we are joining forces with the UK’s leading technology venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot, to link the city’s next generation of scale-up businesses to university expertise which can help them innovate and grow.

Digital Nottingham offers exciting opportunities for our researchers. I am leading a programme to scope this vision, which will include a series of consultation meetings to discuss the University’s key strengths in relation to data science and digital transformation.  To find out more and get involved, please contact Dr Maria Arruda (Research Development Manager, Research and Innovation) or Dr Jo Barwick (Senior Executive, Creative and Digital).

Find out more about our vision for Digital Nottingham from John Gathergood, Professor of Economics and Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Postgraduate research students: an update and our thanks

As we approach the end of an academic year that has been extraordinarily challenging for our postgraduate research students, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Andy Long has reminded PGRs the support on offer and thanked for our PGR community for their resilience and goodwill. Andy’s update includes information on study and funding extensions and progress reviews.

Please do continue to support one another, talk to us and your supervisors, and share your concerns and suggestions. This helps us to better support you and direct resources to where they are needed most.

Wellbeing Week

Researcher Wellbeing Week takes place between 28 June and 2 July. This includes a number of sessions from the Researcher Academy, Support and Wellbeing team, Counselling Service, Sports Centre and others. It will also include a Wellbeing Week Forum where researchers can interact with each other and share interesting books, podcasts or videos.

Find out more and book your session

Join the Researcher Academy Three Minute Thesis Competition Final 

Ten postgraduate researchers from a range of disciplines will present their research in only three minutes on Wednesday, 30 June, between 11.30am and 1pm.

This is always an inspiring event that offers an insight into world-changing research happening at Nottingham, directly from our postgraduate research students. Register to watch the final, when you can ask questions about the presenter’s research and vote for your favourite in the People’s Choice Award.

Tri-campus research network

Colleagues from all faculties are invited to contribute a three-minute summary of their research relating to the Silk Road and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – China’s main international cooperation and economic strategy.

The online takes place at 9.30am (UK time) on Wednesday 14 July and aims to help create interdisciplinary research hubs across our UK, China and Malaysia campuses and support the development of UNNC’s Global Institute for Silk Road Studies.

Key cross-disciplinary themes include migration, and trans-nationalism/ethnicity/ acculturation. For more information please contact Professor Julian Henderson of the Department of Classics and Archaeology.

New knowledge exchange hub to support university colleagues

The KE Hub is an online resource to support a more engaged and informed knowledge exchange culture within the university. The SharePoint site has been created in response to feedback from the academic community and professional services staff during the formulation of our Knowledge Exchange Strategic Delivery Plan. It is a platform that brings together our knowledge exchange policies and procedures, sources of funding, opportunities for training and development, sharing of best practice across the faculties and news and views applicable to knowledge exchange in all disciplines. You can access the SharePoint here. Contact Susan Huxtable with any queries.

New cutting-edge analytical tool

A collaboration between four of our beacons (Green Chemicals, Future Foods, Precision Imaging and Propulsion Futures) has led to a £1.1m EPSRC equipment grant for new instrumentation for the Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre. Tip-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy provides a cutting-edge analytical tool for materials characterisation at the nanoscale and deliver new fundamental applicable to a broad spectrum of material-based research programmes ranging from drug delivery, medical devices and optoelectronics to batteries, sustainable chemistry and food security. The bid was led by Professor Mike George of the School of Chemistry.

EPSRC new investigator award

Dr James Cuthbertson of the School of Chemistry has been awarded a £523,000, three-year Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) new investigator award. He will investigate the use of nitrogen-centred radicals in the synthesis of novel molecules, which will open up more sustainable approaches to pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and materials. James is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and former Nottingham Research Fellow.

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships

Two of our researchers have been awarded prestigious Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships.

Dr Diriba Kumssa of the School of Biosciences is studying wild edible fruits for food as a food source in Ethiopia, where 80% of the population of Ethiopia are smallholder farmers with limited access to diversified diets. Diriba’s study could help alleviate micronutrient deficiencies and enhance biodiversity conservation.

Dr Fabio Saccoccio of the Department of Classics and Archaeology has been awarded a three-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to study the Cenomani, a Gallic people who invaded Northern Italy in the fourth century BCE. The project will combine archaeology, linguistics, law, landscape and isotope studies to tell us more key issues in ancient history such as migration and cultural integration.

Meetings with Royal Academy of Engineering Policy Fellows

Professors Chris Gerada, Al Cairns and John Andrews from the Faculty of Engineering  have been invited as leaders in their respective fields to meet with Royal Academy of Engineering Policy Fellows. The programme aims to strengthen links between engineers and policymakers and increase the capability of engineering to inform policy for the benefit of society.

Double birthday honours for University of Nottingham medics

Congratulations to colleagues who have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Hywel Williams, Professor of Dermato-Epidemiology and Co-Director of the Centre of Evidence-Based Dermatology in the School of Medicine, receives an OBE for services to the national Covid-19 research response and his lifelong research into skin diseases.

Dr Joseph Manning, a registered children’s nurse and clinical academic nurse leader at the University, has been awarded an MBE for services to nursing.

Sir Bernard Silverman appointed as chair of UK Geospatial Commission

Sir Bernard Silverman, Professor of Modern Slavery Statistics in the Rights Lab and School of Politics and International Relations, has been appointed as the UK Geospatial Commission’s new chair. Established in 2018, the Geospatial Commission is an independent, expert committee responsible for setting the UK’s geospatial strategy and coordinating public sector geospatial activity.

Historian’s dream role at new-look Nottingham Castle

Dr Richard Gaunt of the Department of History deserves a share of the spotlight as the refurbished Nottingham Castle reopens. Richard is the curator of the castle’s Rebellion Gallery, which takes visitors back in time through three riotous historical episodes – the Civil War, the Luddite movement and parliamentary reform protests that saw the burning of the castle in October 1831. Richard reflects on this dream job and playing his part in the castle’s history.

Researchers in print

Recent book publications from Cultures, Languages and Area Studies researchers include:

Dr Christopher Phelps and Dr Robin Vandome (American and Canadian Studies), Marxism and America: New Appraisals (Manchester University Press); Dr Hongwei Bao (Culture, Media and Visual Studies), Queer Media in China (Routledge); and Professor Dirk Göttsche (Modern Languages and Cultures), Landscapes of Realism: Rethinking Literary Realism in Comparative Perspectives, Volume I: Mapping Realism (John Benjamins). This is the first of two volumes to emerge from the Leverhulme International Research Network “Landscapes of Realism” (2016-2019), headed by Nottingham and Dirk Göttsche.

Award for China partnerships

The University of Nottingham  has been awarded a prestigious Zhejiang International Science and Technology Cooperation Award after being nominated by the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Education. The award highlights the Nottingham Health China Initiative and a collaboration with Geely Zhejiang Jirun Chunxiao Automobile Components Company Limited led by Professor Yuying Yan.

The Nottingham Health China Initiative was established in 2014 by the Asia Business Centre working with the Faculty of Medicine, School of Pharmacy and Nottingham University Business School, to capitalise on the commercial opportunities arising from healthcare reform across China. The collaboration grew further with the founding of the Nottingham China Health Institute in 2018, led by Professor Richard Hubbard and Professor Patrick Chau.

Thank you and best wishes

Jessica Corner's signature

Professor Dame Jessica Corner
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange


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