Professor Dame Jessica Corner

June 23, 2022, by Rob Ounsworth

University’s largest ever funding award for UK’s most powerful MRI scanner

Update from Professor Dame Jessica Corner

The University of Nottingham, the birthplace of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), has received its largest ever funding award to establish the UK’s most powerful MRI scanner.

The £29.1m award, from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), will establish a national scanning facility to help the UK lead the world in ultra-high field imaging and transform understanding of the brain and treatment of disease.

This is thrilling news. The university is renewing our research strategy in 2022 for the next five years and a key aim is to align our exceptional research to strategic and global challenges.

Receiving this landmark award from UKRI underlines our commitment to address the big challenges faced by society and this will allow our researchers to further establish the UK as a world leader in ultra-high magnetic field MRI. It is a tremendous accolade and is testament to many years of dedication by Professor Richard Bowtell, Professor Penny Gowland and Professor Dorothee Auer and their colleagues at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre and our Precision Imaging Beacon.

The 11.7T Tesla MRI scanner will be sited in the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre on University Park Campus, where Nobel Prize winner Sir Peter Mansfield developed MRI in the early 1970s, revolutionising healthcare across the world.

Research strategy and research culture – what’s next?

We are holding a series of events inviting colleagues to find out more about progress towards our renewed research strategy and a transformed research culture.

Research strategy town halls

A new series of virtual town halls will update on our research strategy.

Further town halls will take place on
• Wednesday 20 July 9.30-10.30am
• Tuesday 26 July 3-4pm

Please use this form to book your place. This will be an opportunity to hear about progress towards the university’s renewed research strategy for 2022-27, which is due to be officially launched in the autumn.

Updates will include our research culture project (please see more on this below) and there will be a Q&A session.

We encourage everyone who contributes to the delivery of research to join us and shape our vision.

Your input into our research strategy consultation and the ongoing research culture project has been invaluable as we explore how to build an inclusive, vibrant environment to support the delivery of world-class research. I look forward to your further support.

Research culture update and new opportunity to get involved

Our research culture survey closed at the end of May. We received 862 submissions, which represents more than 10% of our research community. Many thanks to everyone who completed the survey. We are now analysing data from the survey. Reports and a video overview of findings for each faculty will be placed on the Research Culture SharePoint in early July.

You are now invited to get involved in the next stage of the project, a series of design clinics between 11 – 21 July that will explore emerging themes from the survey.

This is an opportunity to work with colleagues from across the university to develop a range of practical interventions and improvements that can positively influence our working environment. In each of the six clinics we will respond to a theme/s raised by the survey and work together to develop possible options for engaging with these. This will lead into our work in the autumn, when we will form working groups to prototype the best ideas.

The design clinics, to be held via Microsoft Teams, are for anyone working on or supporting research activity and will actively seek and promote cross-faculty exchange of ideas.

If you would like to attend and contribute further to improving our research culture, please register your interest for one of the clinics.

Research Culture Conference

The Researcher Academy invites all staff involved in or supporting research,  postgraduate research students, technicians, academics, senior leaders, and professional service staff to come together during Nottingham’s first Research Culture Conference and explore how we can transform our research culture.

The Research Culture Conference: Building a Healthy and High-Performing Research Ecosystem, takes place 7 July, 9.30am–4.30pm, East Midlands Conference Centre.

Book your place

Stick to Science: open letter sent to EU Commission

Signatories of the Stick to Science campaign have sent an open letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, asking her to intervene in the critical issue for science created by the delay of the association of the UK and Switzerland to Horizon Europe.

The university, alongside all other UK universities, recently encouraged members of our research community to support the Stick to Science initiative, which urges EU leaders and the UK government to agree to the UK’s association with Horizon Europe.

Since February, the Stick to Science campaign has brought together the voice of more than 5,600 major research funding and performing bodies, umbrella organisations, individual researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators, calling for an open R&I landscape both at European and at international level, without any political barriers.

Trusted Research Environment

The university’s pioneering Trusted Research Environment (TRE) platform is now live.

Hosted by Digital and Technology Services, the secure data platform is available to researchers, partnered institutions and trusted organisations working with highly sensitive data.

The TRE platform provides researchers with the tools needed to access, process, analyse and utilise sensitive data in a secure environment.

REF case studies published

Research England has published a REF impact case study database. This searchable tool will support wide-ranging analysis of the submissions made by UK universities to REF2021 and the impact of our research to the economy and society, in the UK and worldwide.

You can find out more on our submission and results on our Research Excellence Framework page. We submitted 135 impact case studies to REF2021, and around 70 of these have inspired research stories on the impact pages of our website.

Remote research toolkit

Dr Helen McCabe of the School of Politics and International Relations and her colleagues have created a Remote Research Toolkit, built to help researchers overcome challenges and engage with vulnerable groups in ethical ways.

The project came about in response to the pandemic and the challenges – and rewards – of virtual engagement with research subjects.

Dr Helen McCabe writes about the toolkit and her experiences of collaborating with participants in Kenya.

Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam Science Leadership Award

Professor Sir Jonathan Van-Tam has been honoured in the Business of Science Leadership Awards, to recognise the leadership he demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Professor Van-Tam has received the Special Recognition Award in the Business of Science Leadership Awards – which are designed to pay tribute to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding business leadership in the area of science and innovation and is voted for by a panel of esteemed judges.

UKRI Future Leaders Award

Dr Sabina Lawreniuk, a Research Fellow in the School of Geography, has been awarded almost £1.3 million to investigate the specific threats posed to female garment workers in supply chains across the world.

Dr Lawreniuk has been recognised by the prestigious UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship programme and is among 84 promising early career researchers that have received a fellowship, totalling £98 million.

Her four-year research project will examine garment manufacturing in the Midlands, UK, as well as in Cambodia, Ethiopia and Jordan. These four producer countries represent different sites in the evolution of supply chain outsourcing, where one million people work, making clothes and shoes for leading UK brands including Marks and Spencer, Topshop and ASOS.

Leading eye expert receives lifetime achievement award

Professor Harminder Singh Dua CBE, a leading eye expert from the School of Medicine, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the NHS Regional Parliamentary Awards.

Professor Dua will now go on to represent the Midlands at the award national finals in July.

He was made Commander of the most excellent order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in her 2019 Birthday Honours list.

His work has changed clinical practice and has been adopted worldwide. Professor Dua’s most famous contribution to ophthalmology was his research group’s discovery of a previously undetected layer of the human cornea in 2013.

Social scientist’s world ranking

Professor Christopher Day of the School of Education is ranked 130 in the world and 20 in the UK by’s citation-based ranking of the top 1000 scientists in the area of Social Sciences and Humanities. Professor Day is among only nine educational leadership researchers in the top 1000 social scientists in the world. Find out more about his research on successful school leadership.

Best wishes
Jessica Corner's signature
Professor Dame Jessica Corner
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange


Posted in research