Tom Rodden

January 19, 2023, by Rob Ounsworth

Professor Tom Rodden is new Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange

Professor Neil Crout’s research update

Many congratulations to Professor Tom Rodden, who, as you may already have seen,  has been appointed as the university’s new Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange.

Tom is a Professor of Computing at the university and has been working at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as its Chief Scientific Adviser since January 2019. His leadership and knowledge of government will prove invaluable as we naAvigate the research funding landscape.

I will continue as interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor until my retirement in March 2023, after which the role will be covered by Professor Sam Kingman, Engineering’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor, until Professor Rodden arrives in October. Professor Robert Mokaya will continue to embed aspects of international research strategy within his current portfolio and represent the University in the continuing discussions on association with Horizon Europe or the UK government’s ‘Plan B’ alternative.

The university is meanwhile advertising internally for the recruitment of the newly-titled role of Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange. to work with with the PVC and APVCs  to implement our research and knowledge exchange strategy,.

Find out more about this opportunity and apply.

The closing date is Monday 30 January 2023.

Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Ben Ollivere, Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery in the School of Medicine, has been appointed as Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Many congratulations to Ben.

University relaunches International Research and Collaboration Fund

The university is relaunching its flagship International Research Collaboration Fund (IRCF).

This academic year (2023-23), there will be £250,000 available to support international research collaboration and mobility for colleagues across the UK campuses. Opening in February, the IRCF will operate via a rolling-call model with a quick, straight forward application and approvals process.

The IRCF will particularly welcome applications from colleagues seeking to establish or grow links with world-leading research groups and institutions that will lead to excellent research outputs. In addition to support for outbound mobility, the IRCF is open to larger grants that support the acceleration of ambitious partnerships with institutions and research groups with an international reputation for excellence in their field. Dedicated funding for Early Career Researcher mobility will also form part of the new scheme.

As the university develops an ambitious new International Research and Knowledge Exchange Strategy over the coming months, the IRCF will form the cornerstone of our efforts to support high-quality research, as well as our global reputation, influence and impact.

Find out more. Information will follow next week on Campus News and other channels, with further details on how to apply.

Supporting excellence in research

I am delighted to share further progress, including securing new research kit, a significant uplift in our High Performance Computing capabilities and work to improve the day to day experience of researchers  (i.e.  identifying and reducing the barriers we face).

Investing in research equipment

Through the work of the Facilities and Equipment Management Committee we have been able to fund some £4m worth of new or replacement research equipment since December 2022. The Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre received around £750,000-worth of equipment; the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science £1m and the Faculties of Engineering, and Science about £900,000 each.

A significant £620,000 upgrade of the archaeology laboratories in the Faculty of Arts will allow academics and postgraduate research students from Classics and Archaeology, Geography and Biosciences to study climate change through the lens of historic pollution and its impact. The laboratories will also facilitate collaborative research with partners such as the British Geology Survey and Historic England.

Many thanks to colleagues in our finance, procurement and purchasing teams for their hard work in expediting the orders and ensuring delivery of the equipment before the current deadline of the end of March.

The FEMC list is always ‘open’. In line with the university’s commitment to enabling interdisciplinary research, we welcome requests for new equipment that will encourage collaborations.

For more information, please contact James Houghton, Research Facilities and Equipment Manager.

High Performance Computing service

The High Performance Computing (HPC) service is to receive a significant upgrade this summer, with refreshed hardware capability that will uplift overall HPC capability by 3.5  times and ensure our competitiveness for the next five years. This investment will also enable:

  • A 10x uplift in GPUs will support research into AI and our capabilities in this field
  • A managed service from the external supplier to support and maintain our hardware
  • New interfaces and two additional user support roles to provide “super-laptop” functionality and ensure wider uptake
  • A refreshed cost recovery model that simplifies access and promotes experimentation and ambition.

Improving researcher experience

The drive to improve researcher experience continues. A project team from Research and Innovation is working with faculties to map known issues and workshops over the next few month will explore how these can be tackled and improvements made.

Further engagement with the researcher community will provide more insights.

In addition, R&I have been working on a number of improvements around contracts over the past six months, most notably:

  • Improve resilience and staff retention by ensuring all staff are moved onto permanent contracts
  • Implementation of AdobeSign to automate (and speed up) the signing process where possible
  • Planning the launch of ‘self-service’ for confidentiality/non-disclosure agreements (target completion: March)
  • Developing a framework for devolved sign-off for low risk contracts – three pilot areas identified (target completion: March)

Data Fest 2023: boost your data skills and knowledge

Data Fest 2023, hosted by the Researcher Academy in collaboration with the UK Data Service, is holding a series of events that will give researchers and colleagues who support research opportunities to boost data skills, knowledge and networks.

Find out more and book your place

University of Nottingham Food Systems Institute

The University of Nottingham Food Systems Institute is launching in late 2023.
The Institute aims to stimulate trans-disciplinary research across all faculties, focusing on how the food system impacts on human, economic and environmental health, at local to global scales. Nottingham is the only UK university with established capabilities and academic expertise across all facets of the food system and the Institute will build on this foundation. More about the Food Systems Institute can be found on Sharepoint.

Find out more and help shape its future at a series of engagement workshops, which can be booked via Eventbrite.

OBE for positioning and navigation pioneer

Terry Moore, an Emeritus Professor and former Director of the Nottingham Geospatial Institute, in the Faculty of Engineering, has been made an OBE in the 2023 New Year Honours List. Many congratulations!

Terry has played a leading role in national and European initiatives that link research to real-world applications for satellite navigation systems. He has overseen research projects funded by industry, research councils, the European Space Agency and the European Commission, and has supervised more than 40 successful PhD students.

UNESCO recognition for Professor of Professor of International Education and Development

Professor Juliet Thondhlana of the School of Education has been appointed as the UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development. The appointment recognises Professor Thondhlana’s leadership in the field and is an opportunity to build on the university’s internationalisation strategy and contribution towards reaching UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Fellow of International Society for Optics and Photonics

Congratulations to Professor Steve Morgan, who has been elected as a fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics in recognition of his contribution to biomedical optics, such as a high-speed scanner that is reducing the suffering of young burns victims. Steve is Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Director of the Centre for Healthcare Technologies.

Global interest as Rights Lab author explores cost of cobalt

Congratulations to British Academy Global Professor Siddharth Kara, Rights Lab Associate Professor of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery, whose book Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives, is being published by St. Martin’s Press at the end of this month and has attracted global interest.

Cobalt Red is a first-hand investigation of the cobalt mining industry in the Congo. Cobalt is an essential component in mobile phones, electric car batteries and laptops. Yet most of the world’s supplies are hand-mined in appalling conditions in the Congo by exploited labourers and children.

Professor Kara’s podcast with the US commentator Joe Rogan has been downloaded four million times and the accompanying video has clocked up more than one million views.

Appointed to UK Young Academy

The School of Medicine’s Ralph Akyea, a Senior Research Fellow in Clinical Epidemiology, is among the first members of the UK Young Academy, a network of early career researchers and professionals established by the Academy of Medical Sciences to focus on the challenges and opportunities that face society and inform local and global policy discussions.

Prestigious global prize 

Dr Emily Gathergood, a postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, has been granted the 2023 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise, an honour given to ten young scholars from all over the world for outstanding dissertations or first post-doctoral work. Dr Gathergood’s dissertation, ‘The Midwifery of God,’ explores the relationship between maternity and divinity.

Policy Impact and Public Engagement Awards

Do you know someone who’s doing great work on policy impact or public engagement? Have you been doing work yourself that you think deserves recognition? If yes, this is an opportunity to nominate yourself or a colleague.

The Institute for Policy and Engagement’s fourth Policy Impact and Public Engagement Awards are for:

Best Policy Impact Initiative

Best Public Engagement Initiative

Rising Star Award – Policy Impact

Rising Star Award – Public

The Institute Director’s Award (for non-academic staff)

Best School Engagement Initiative

Find out more how to nominate yourself or colleagues.

Best wishes

Neil Crout signature

Professor Neil Crout
Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange






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