Weekly update from the Vice-Chancellor - 10/06/2022

Posted in: Weekly Update

Dear colleague,

I do hope this message finds you well.

Summer events
I was so pleased that both the SU Summer Ball and the weekend events and funfair for staff, students and local residents were so well received. Congratulations to The SU on the organisation of the Ball; it was really special that our students could again celebrate in that way after the restrictions of the last two years. My thanks to all those who attended the staff funfair and brought friends and family; I hope you enjoyed the day. I am deeply grateful to our Accommodation, Hospitality and Security colleagues who worked so hard and did such a superb job over the bank holiday weekend. Thank you very much.

Looking ahead, there are also a number of events for Pride this June, including the Campus Pride event later today which helps celebrate and promote the diversity of our University community. This starts at 5pm on Chancellors’ Green, and is open to all, the LGBT+ community, allies and friends.

Today and tomorrow also sees our latest graduation ceremonies, and on 17th and 18th June we’re holding in-person Open Days, in addition to our recent virtual open day events. I know we take pride in promoting our University and celebrating with our students and graduates, but I also want to acknowledge the sheer amount of hard work that goes into making these events a success and offer my heartfelt thanks for your dedication.

End of assessment period
The bulk of assessments and project presentations, and of course teaching at undergraduate level, has now finished for the year. I was very pleased to visit some student assessments and it was clear how much students valued the care and support that they had been given. Thank you so much for all your hard work, and I hope that the finalising of marking goes well over the weeks to come.

Very sad news in search for missing student
I am desperately sorry to have to convey very sad news in this update. As many of you will be aware, one of our postgraduate students, Bilin Chen, went missing two weeks ago. We have been liaising with Police Scotland and doing what we could to aid their search. I am so very sorry to say that we’ve been informed by Police Scotland that they have found someone deceased, whom they believe to be Bilin. Police authorities have informed Bilin’s family and our thoughts continue to be very much with them. We continue to provide support to Bilin’s friends here in Bath and we’ve signposted to sources of support for both students and staff from our webpages – please do reach out and use this support if you need it.

Major new facilities open
It has been an important period for our major capital builds. I’m really pleased that the facility for the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) at the Bristol and Bath Science Park has been handed over by the contractor. This has clearly been a really significant endeavour and we're very much looking forward to seeing the site operate at full capacity.

Colleagues have been working hard on the move into the new School of Management building this week. Again, this has been a major investment which will enable more research, teaching and enterprise activity over the years to come.

My congratulations to all who have been involved in seeing these projects through to their completion.

QS World University rankings
I wanted to say a word about the 2023 QS World University rankings, which came out earlier this week. Over the last 10 years, our institution has moved up four times and down four times, staying within the bracket of 150-200th in the world. This year, like many other UK Universities, our position has decreased slightly since last year (for a variety of factors, some pandemic-related) and we’re ranked at 179 out of 1,422 in the world. I’m grateful that the QS rankings working group and colleagues in the Faculties, School, International Relations Office and beyond have been working hard on external engagement – thank you for everything you’ve done so far. While we are pleased to have retained a strong position, we’ll be looking at the results and an analysis from the working group in more detail and our Executive Board will be agreeing next steps in the coming months in order to meet our future ambitions in this area.

Fire safety
You may be aware that there was a kitchen fire in an accommodation block on campus on Wednesday. Everyone was evacuated quickly and safely. I am very grateful to everyone involved in responding, including Avon Fire and Rescue, our Accommodation, Security and Estates staff, health and safety colleagues, Student Services and others for supporting our students with such care and ensuring everyone was safe. Thank you.

We do, of course, have full fire safety arrangements in place, including student induction information and regular alarm tests and drills. However, it’s always worth reminding our whole community about fire safety, including our mandatory training for all staff and online information about fire safety and emergency arrangements.

Royal Society of Chemistry 2022 prize winners
My warmest congratulations to:

  • The team across our Departments of Chemistry and Physics here at Bath, including Dr David Carbery, Dr Dan Pantoș, Dr Kristina Rusimova, Professor Ventsislav Valev, Dr Fabienne Pradaux-Caggiano, and Joel Collins, David Hooper, Robin Jones, Lukas Ohnoutek, Ben Olohan, and Dora Răsădean and their partners, for winning the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Faraday Division Horizon Prize for the discovery of chiroptical harmonic scattering, theoretically predicted in 1979 and demonstrated experimentally 40 years later.
  • Dr Ruth Webster MRSC, winner of the 2022 Dalton Division early career award: Sir Edward Frankland Fellowship for outstanding research including mechanistic elucidation of iron-catalysed, atom-efficient transformations of main group elements.

These are truly remarkable achievements, rightly recognised by these prestigious awards. Congratulations.

And finally, my congratulations to two of our doctoral students:

  • Jakub Dziegielowski, PhD student in Chemical Engineering, who won the 2022 Godfrey and Sue Hall Postgraduate Research Student Prize for his fascinating research, ‘Can soil replace oil? Soil Microbial Fuel Cells and their true potential’.
  • Earlier this week, we held the final of the University of Bath Three Minute Thesis competition, where doctoral students and staff enjoyed presentations from the eight finalists. The judges named Harindi Jayakody from the Department of Chemical Engineering the winner for her thesis ‘Developing sensitive and accessible diagnostic tests for COVID-19’. The judges found her presentation clear and engaging, and she will now go through to the national final. Congratulations, Harindi.


With best wishes,

Professor Ian White
Vice-Chancellor and President

Posted in: Weekly Update


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