Jessica Corner

October 22, 2021, by Rob Ounsworth

Our message of hope at COP26: research can truly change the world

COP26, the United Nations Climate Conference, opens in Glasgow on 1 November, and I will be proud to lead a small delegation from our university at this incredibly important event.

We will carry a message of hope. We face the greatest challenge of our time yet a common purpose and shared determination to deliver innovative, bold solutions can truly change the world.

Our research is providing UK and international leaders with the science, data, expertise and insights they need to agree on a way forward. In Glasgow, with support from our  Institute for Policy and Engagement, we will further promote our discoveries, inform debate and seek to influence policies. We will work hard to strengthen partnerships and spark new collaborations – only by acting together, with urgency, can we overcome this crisis.

Ahead of COP26, the university has reaffirmed its commitment to reduce emissions, improve environmental sustainability and support Nottingham’s aims to be a net zero carbon city. We have joined 140 universities to back climate action and champion UN Sustainable Development Goals. These pledges are outlined in a new Universities UK report Confronting the climate emergency: a commitment from UK universities.

Highlighting our climate change research

Throughout the conference, our researchers will be sharing commentary, podcasts and insights into their discoveries and its impact on climate change.

You will find these on our COP26 web pages.  Please follow and help amplify our campaign on social media, including Twitter (@UoNresearch and @UoN_Institute) and look out for hashtags  #TogetherForOurPlanet and #COP26.

We are also connecting with the communities we serve and highlighting how our staff and students can get involved and make a difference.

A pop-up exhibition, Green Light in the City, will invite the public to visit a vacant retail space in central Nottingham in November, to find out more about our climate change research and steps that we all can take to reduce our carbon footprint.

Our research strategy consultation

My sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the latest round of our reach strategy consultation. We asked colleagues from across our UK, China and Malaysia campuses for your views on a white paper that set out a framework to deliver a high-performing, inclusive research ecosystem.

In the UK, we had engagement with individuals and groups representing 10% of our community, with a 75% positivity rating from colleagues – a very good result!  As part of this university-wide consultation and to underline our tri-campus outlook, senior leaders at our China and Malaysia campuses championed the consultation across their communities. A breakdown of responses from China and Malaysia, together with further analysis, will follow.

We are grateful for the engagement of the university community over the past year in debating our research ambitions and how we can achieve them.

Informed by your insights, our research strategy for 2022-27 will be launched at the end of this year. Look out for dates in December to join me and colleagues at an in-person event where I will give an overview of the strategy and answer any questions you may have. In the new year we will hold further conversations with you, including a series of town halls, on its implementation. Your contribution remains vital as we work towards an agile and inclusive research ecosystem.

Research Link – bringing multi-disciplinary collaborators together

A commitment to transdisciplinary research is a key strength at Nottingham. A new online tool will help build teams, submit exciting proposals and enhance our capability to compete for strategic funding.

Research Link allows you to search for colleagues from across our UK campuses according to research interests and expertise. Search for any topic of interest and it will return a list of researchers working in related areas, along with their interests.

This exciting initiative was developed by Professor Simon Gosling (School of Geography), Jasper Donelan (Digital Research) and Dr Michela Mariani (School of Geography), and supported by the university’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account and Data Driven Discovery Initiative (3DI)

Visit from Dame Ottoline Leyser

I was delighted to host the visit of Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, the recently appointed CEO of UK Research and Innovation, to Nottingham.

Dame Ottoline met researchers including:

Professor Miguel Camara, Director of National Biofilm Innovation Centre at the Biodiscovery Institute, who provided an overview of industry partnerships and a tour of imaging facilities in the BDI.

Professors Richard Bowtell and Matthew Brookes at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, where the UK’s first 11.7T MRI scanner for brain imaging and spectroscopy is planned. Dame Ottoline was also introduced to the spin-out company Cerca Magnetics Limited (Cerca) which was formed in partnership with UK company Magnetic Shields Limited (MSL) to bring the world’s most advanced functional brain scanner to market.

Professor Chris Gerada at the Power Electronics and Machines Centre, a world-class facility that is pioneering the electrification of transport.

Henner Wappenhans, newly appointed Professor of Innovation for Zero Carbon Technologies.

The Horizon Digital team, who showcased the newly opened CoBot Marker Space in the Nottingham Geospatial Institute building.

Early Career Award for Dr Chris Madan

Dr Chris Madan (Psychology) has been awarded an Early Career Award from the Psychonomic Society. The award regognises young scientists who have made excellent scientific contributions to the field of cognitive psychology.

Honour from Academy of Social Sciences

Meryem Duygun, Professor of Banking and Finance at Nottingham University Business School, has been conferred a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. The news follows Professor Duygun being named as one of the most influential women leading innovation in the UK financial services industry earlier this year. Innovate Finance named Professor Duygun in their Women in FinTech Powerlist 2020, within the category ‘Policymakers and Regulatory Experts’

Philip Leverhulme Prize Winners

Dr Theodora Jim, of the Department of Classics and Archaeology, and Dr Lonán Ó Briain, of the Department of Music, who have each been awarded a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize by the Leverhulme Trust. The £100,000 awards recognise recognise the achievement of exceptional researchers whose work has attracted international recognition and whose future careers are exceptionally promising.

Robotics recognition

Praminda Caleb-Solly, Professor of Embodied Intelligence, has been named one of 2021’s 50 women in robotics you need to know about by Robohub, which connects the international robotics community.

Early Career Researcher Network

The Midlands has been chosen as the first hub of the British Academy’s Early Career Researcher Network. The aim is to establish a UK-wide Network for researchers in the humanities and social sciences, providing opportunities for skills development and networking across the whole country.  The University of Nottingham is one of 12 universities in the consortium and ECRs are invited to apply to join the network via the British Academy’s website. 

Global Evidence Network 4 Health

A new network was launched this week on World Evidence Based Healthcare Day  to promote the university as a centre of excellence in evidence-based healthcare and veterinary medicine.

The University of Nottingham Global Evidence Network for Health (UoN-GEN4Health) spans the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (in the UK and in China) and will foster coordination and health and veterinary medicine and enable the university to be more strategic, competitive and ambitious around research.

Leadership opportunity for women technicians

Technicians are the unsung heroes of research, and as a member of Midlands Innovation and its TALENT project, the university is proud to support the UK’s first leadership programme designed for people in technical roles who identify as women.

The Herschel Programme for Women in Technical Leadership is a six-month programme,  including modules on self-awareness, leading in a technical environment, negotiation skills and navigating the organisation. It also offers unique opportunities for networking.

Applications close on 5 November, with the programme commencing in January 2022.

My thanks and best wishes

Jessica Corner's signature

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




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