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photograph Welcome to this edition of NU Connections

Professor Phil Wright, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for SAgE provides an update on the Science and Engineering Excellence project and shares news of the new appointments within the Faculty.  

I’m sure you will be aware of Science and Engineering Excellence as one of the University’s key strategic projects, but so much has been happening that I wanted to take this opportunity and personally update you all on our progress. 

To deliver this inspiring project we need to consider our infrastructure, but more importantly our people, who are at the heart of everything that we do. We need to ensure that we have an efficient, effective organisation and support structure able to meet future challenges. So we have reviewed our academic structure in consultation with our staff and external stakeholders and made the decision to reduce the academic structure of the faculty from ten to five academic units - four UK based schools and Singapore.  A review and reorganisation of the Faculty's Professional and Administrative Services and Technical work is also taking place, again in consultation with colleagues.  

With Science and Engineering Excellence we will re-invigorate our world class academic environment with new technologies and facilities, delivering outstanding teaching for our students and growing research that has global and local impact. We want to increase opportunities for multidisciplinary working with colleagues from across the university: there are great examples of this already taking shape, such as HaSS and SAgE recruiting four Chairs to work on Spatial Analytics and Modelling, and the collaborations with FMS in Biofilms and Synthetic Biology.

The new Faculty structure will ‘go live’ from 1 August 2017.  We need to make this change to secure investment in our buildings, to build on our research and teaching excellence and to improve the way we work. I believe that our strength as a University lies in the fact that together we are greater than the sum of our parts and this is underpinned by our strong industrial, rural, maritime and academic heritage, which defines us and makes us unique.

To make this possible we have been recruiting new Heads of School and after a very successful internal recruitment campaign we made three appointments. Professor John Fitzgerald will lead the new School for Computing, Professor Phil Taylor will lead Engineering, and Professor Rob Edwards the School that brings our Sciences together. I am sure you will all join me in congratulating them on their appointments.  

The recruitment campaign for the Head of Mathematics, Statistics and Theoretical Physics is ongoing and interviews will take place on 10 March 2017.

All of the School names given here are working titles and we are consulting with staff about what our new schools could be called and how they could be promoted.

Our new Heads will start in their new roles immediately so that they can input into the Faculty strategy, the shaping of the SEE programme and appointments within their schools. Our current Heads of School will continue in post until 31 July and they will retain responsibility for day to day line management working alongside the new Heads.

As Professor Phil Taylor takes on his new role Dr Phil McGowan (currently Associate Director) has agreed to act as interim Director of the Institute for Sustainability until October 2017.

I’m delighted that we have also been able to confirm some of the key management roles within the faculty.  

This is a challenging but exciting project, not only for SAgE but the whole University. I will keep you updated on our progress as we look to formally name the four new schools and get everything ready and everyone in post for ‘go live’ in August.   
Phil Wright
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering


published on: 1st March 2017


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