Professor Dame Jessica Corner

January 27, 2022, by Rob Ounsworth

Lively and thought-provoking town halls   

Research update from Professor Dame Jessica Corner

My thanks to all who supported our latest series of online town halls, where we updated on the university’s renewed strategy for research and held a Q&A to discuss how we can together achieve our goals. 

Questions at each of the five faculty-led town halls were thought-provoking and challenging. I am delighted the town halls were well-attended and underlined our commitment to engage with you in delivering our research strategy and building a vibrant research culture. 

Themes emerging include: 

  • the evidence that our research strategy puts us in a leading position 
  • acknowledging that research needs a long-term approach 
  • support for small-scale blue-skies pilot projects  
  • balancing resources for securing funding with those needed to deliver projects 
  • promoting smaller £50k to £500k grants in parallel with supersize funding initiatives  
  • time for research and grant writing and reducing bureaucracy 
  • cascading best practice of high-performing areas 
  • how PGR research fits into the strategy 
  • more reliable PhD funding 
  • effective support to get research projects under way 

For those unable to attend, recordings can be found on the research strategy pages. You will also be able to view my short presentation on the research strategy. 


Please continue to follow guidelines and act cautiously and considerately to help us keep our community as safe as possible. 

Research and Innovation: staff consultation on new structure

Research and Innovation (R&I) staff are being consulted on a new operating structure aiming to improve ways of working, enhance performance and enable colleagues to have more impact in the delivery of the university’s research strategy over the next five years. 

The consultation closes on Wednesday 9 February 2022. 

Any change brings uncertainty but it is important to stress that the number of posts within Research and Innovation will increase under the proposed restructure, with added investment that is a vote of confidence in R&I, strengthening academic support and our ability to anticipate and secure funding opportunities.  

Find out more  

Driving to net zero

The proposed R&I restructure will also enhance our capacity to support transdisciplinary research projects and cross-faculty responses to strategic challenges facing the UK such as achieving zero carbon. 

A priority for government to create the conditions for an innovation-driven economy and the development of regional innovation clusters is seen as a key driver for this. 

We are working with partners and stakeholders in the city and region to develop a large and vibrant research and innovation cluster, using our campuses in Nottingham as vehicles for new models of high activity. Drawing together world-leading research groups, facilities and ways of working, the aim is to rapidly develop a ‘clustering’ effect for the city and region. A first and immediate focus is on zero carbon technologies. 

UKRI Impact consultation

UKRI is consulting on impact in research applications, reviewing its systems to better understand the effectiveness of approaches in supporting impact across UKRI and the investments it funds. The survey invites individual response from academics and group response from research office staff.   

The deadline is 6pm Friday 4 February. 

 Find out more 

This consultation will help UKRI consider what resources, messages, tools, techniques, training, advice, guidance, structures and communication channels could be developed to improve impact in research applications. So do contribute and be creative! Please include examples of what is working, which could be used as case studies to share best practice. 

Are you involved in international research and knowledge exchange?

The Trusted Research team is hosting series of sessions to find out more about Trusted Research and how it applies to your work. 

 The integrity of international research collaboration is vital to the success of the UK’s research and innovation sector. Yet personal and research data, sensitive information and intellectual property are all at risk from theft or exploitation.Many funders now stipulate that applicants must abide by Trusted Research principles. 

Monthly sessions via Teams will inform academic and APM staff of university requirements and how the Trusted Research team can support researchers in protecting their work. 

Sessions will be held on: 

Friday 28 January 11-12am 

Thursday 24 February 2-3pm 

Tuesday 22 March 1-2pm 

Tuesday 26 April 2-3pm 

Please register  

Find out more about Trusted Research  


Notable awards

Professor Alasdair Cairns (Engineering) and partners were awarded an EPSRC Programme Grant worth £6.1m for ‘Decarbonised Clean Marine: Green Ammonia Thermal Propulsion’. Research partners include the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the University of Brighton, the University of Birmingham, and Cardiff University.  

Professor Chris Dodds (Engineering) was awarded over £1.9m from Hamersley Iron Pty Ltd to provide a microwave support programme for the development of their BioIron continuous pilot plant (CPP) and associated testing, research and manufacture of test systems. 

Associate Professors Chris King (Classics and Archaeology) and Richard Goddard (History) have been awarded £125,000 for ‘City of Caves: Regenerating the Heart of Nottingham through Hidden Heritage’. This year-long knowledge exchange project brings together pre-existing work on Nottingham’s medieval archaeology and the city’s unique historic sandstone caves to underpin the Broadmarsh redevelopment project, one of the largest urban regeneration schemes in Europe. 

Congratulations to Kelly Vere MBE

Congratulations to Kelly Vere, Director of Technical Skills and Strategy, who this week received her MBE from His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle. Kelly Vere is a champion of the vital role of technicians in higher education and research. She has spearheaded the strategic and professional development of the University’s 700+ technical staff across the UK and Asia and works with government and funding bodies to influence national policy. Dr Vere joined the university as a junior technician at the age of 18 and is a true inspiration. 

Prestigious award for brain imaging pioneer

Professor Matthew Brookes has been recognised for his revolutionary work in brain imaging with a Physical Sciences and Engineering Laureate award from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences. 

Now in its fifth year, the awards are the largest unrestricted prize available to UK scientists aged 42 or younger. This is the first year the University of Nottingham has featured in these awards and Professor Brookes will receive £100,000 prize money in recognition of his work. 

The work of Professor Brookes and his team in creating a new magnetoencephalography (MEG) technology is tremendously exciting, growing from fundamental research to a commercialised device in just six years. 

Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam to become Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Medicine and Health Sciences

Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam is to become the University of Nottingham’s next Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, taking up the role on his return when he steps down as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Health Protection in England. 

All of us are incredibly proud of JVT and his major role in steering the nation through the Covid-19 pandemic. His academic and leadership expertise will take our university’s reputation for excellence in medicine and health sciences to new heights 

 Making your headlines – new support to promote research in global media

The university’s Press Office, which does a wonderful job in promoting our research and its impact in the UK and across the world, has launched a new set of services. These include a new Press Office online hub that details the services offered by the team and opportunities to publicise your research and encourage public or partner engagement with it. 

A new broadcast studio in the Yang Fujia Building on Jubilee Campus is available for researchers to conduct TV and radio interviews with any outlet across the world. The university also provides studio-quality ISDN line facilities at its Sutton Bonington. 

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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