I hope this message finds you well.
Senior staff recruitment update
We’ll soon be warmly welcoming Professor Sarah Hainsworth and Professor Julian Chaudhuri to the University in their roles as Pro-Vice-Chancellors for Research and Education, respectively. They join Professor Cassie Wilson, who has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) since the start of August. Although Sarah and Julian have met many colleagues already, they officially start in post next Wednesday 1 December and I know they’re very much looking forward to working with you all.
Currently we are also advertising for the role of Vice President (Community & Inclusion), a senior leadership position which will be focussed on the pillar of our new strategy, fostering an outstanding and inclusive community. As ever, we are keen to hear from a diverse range of candidates ahead of the application deadline of 7 December.
Colleagues may also be aware that Anthony Payne will be retiring next year after many years of dedicated service, for which we are so grateful. We will soon be recruiting for this role, with the slightly expanded title of Director of Student Support and Safeguarding. In addition, we will be advertising a new role with a broader remit from that previously held by Mike Nicholson, with the title Director of Student Recruitment & Admissions. Colleagues can see current vacancies on our webpages, which are regularly updated, or sign up for alerts.
Winter graduation ceremonies
We are planning to hold smaller, specially-adapted winter graduation ceremonies for new Master’s and Doctoral graduates from 6-8 December 2021. These will take place on campus, which gives us greater flexibility to hold them in a large space, with additional measures such as checking attendees’ negative LFD tests, proof of double vaccination or Covid passes. We are planning to livestream the ceremonies, please check the ceremonies webpage nearer the time for more information.
Recognising that we are seeing a major advance in the scale of our innovation activities within the region, through initiatives such as the CAMERA Innovation Motion Capture Studio and IAAPS, it was wonderful to attend the launch event for the Innovation Centre for Applied and Sustainable Technologies (iCAST) last Friday, at the Carriage Works in Swindon.
It was an important opportunity to hear about how this £17m facility, hosted by the Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT), will accelerate the translation of sustainable chemical technology research to help tackle global challenges including climate change, sustainable development and plastics pollution. I wish Professor Matthew Davidson (Director of iCAST), Professor Charlotte Williams (Deputy Director of iCAST and Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford) and their colleagues, every success in the next phase of development for this Centre, which has an exciting future ahead.
iCAST was officially declared open by constituency MP Robert Buckland, and you can read more about the partnerships and funding that have made iCAST possible in our post event article.
Finally, many congratulations to Professor Saiful Islam from our Department of Chemistry, colleagues at the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and science presenter Fran Scott for setting a new Guinness World Records title for the highest voltage from a fruit battery. The RSC team used 2,923 lemons to generate 2,307.8 volts. This is not only a wonderful result, it was also an opportunity to highlight the need for us to focus not only on renewable energy generation, but also more effective energy storage in the future.
With best wishes,
Professor Ian White
Vice-Chancellor and President