Provost Celebrations of Academic Achievement – Faculty of Science  

It is always a great pleasure to host the monthly Provost Academic Achievement celebrations, gathering to recognise the most significant academic achievements of colleagues across the University.

At previous events we have celebrated our CDT award success, the Institute of Digital Futures RPIF funding, the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration award, an impressive range of ESRC and AHRC research awards, phenomenal Horizon 2020 success and the ALSPAC (Children of the 90s) renewal award. Each event has been uplifting, and a welcome reminder of the real talent we have in our university community. 

This month, we gathered to celebrate the truly outstanding achievement of colleagues in the Faculty of Science. These events usually take place in Royal Fort House. As you’d expect this month, we’ve had to take a slightly different approach and move proceedings online.  Happily, that didn’t diminish the celebrations. Indeed, the virtual format allowed us to invite more colleagues to take part and help amplify the celebration!  

It was heartening to see so many people join us to acknowledge the achievements of their colleagues, and there were an impressive number of awards to celebrate.  

  • Dann Mitchell and team, Met Office Partnership
    Dann recently led our successful proposal for the University join forces with the Met Office and UCL in a move which will strengthen the UK as a world leader in predicting climate hazards and tackling their far-reaching impact. This is a fantastic result for the University that will benefit the whole institution.         
  • Jonathan Rigg, Royal Geographical Society Victoria Medal
    The Victoria Medal recognises “conspicuous merit in research in geography” and has been given, in honour of the late Queen Victoria, since 1902.  Professor Rigg now joins a distinguished club which includes the likes of George Darwin. Jonathan’s work has focused on understanding – and judging – the effects of agrarian transformations on rural livelihoods in Asia, especially on poorer sections of rural society.   
  • Emma Raven, Royal Society of Chemistry 2020 Interdisciplinary Prize
    Professor Raven was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry 2020 Interdisciplinary Prize for her seminal contributions to understanding the structure and function of heme proteins, which form part of hemoglobin, and their role in biology. 
  • Chris Willis, Royal Society of Chemistry 2020 Award for Natural Product Chemistry
    Professor Willis’s award was given for research centred on understanding how bacteria and fungi produce biologically active compounds with the aim of harnessing the complex biosynthetic machinery to produce new bioactive compounds cleanly and efficiently.  
  • Tony Davis, Royal Society of Chemistry 2020 Robert Robinson Award
    Professor Davis received the Robert Robinson Award for outstanding contributions to the design and synthesis of selective carbohydrate receptors with potential to improve the wellbeing of those with diabetes.  
  • Dek Woolfson, Humboldt Research Award      
    Professor Woolfson’s research has always been at the interface between chemistry and biology, applying chemical methods and principles to understand biological phenomena such as protein folding and stability. The award is given by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany and is reserved for nominees from outside Germany who are internationally renowned for their academic research and expected to continue to make contributions to their respective disciplines. 
  • Stephen Hayden, Institute of Physics Mott Prize
    Professor Hayden was awarded the prestigious Mott Medal from the Institute of Physics (IOP) for his distinguished contributions to condensed matter physics. The award recognises, celebrates and reflects the impact and applications of physics in everyday life, the breadth of the discipline in academia, industry and medicine, and its impact in extraordinary human achievements.   
  • Rich Pancost, Jeremy Philips and Frances Cooper, Athena SWAN Silver Award
    The School of Earth Sciences has achieved a coveted Silver Athena SWAN award, which recognises the impact the School’s actions, initiatives, and policies have made on gender equality. The School nearly has gender balance at every level of its academic, technical and professional staff and more than 40% of professors are women.

These achievements show the incredible strength and depth of academic excellence that exists across the Faculty of Science. It’s a truly outstanding result for one school to win three Royal Society of Chemistry prizes in one year and the Earth Sciences Athena Swan Silver is a fantastic achievement, and testament to the great teamwork of colleagues in the school. The University now has 10 Bronze awards and 6 Silver Awards.

Congratulations to all. I’m very much looking forward to celebrating the success and achievements of other colleagues at future events 

Celebrating Global Challenges Research Fund successes

By Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost

It was a great pleasure to mark the first in the 2020 series of Provost Celebrations of Academic Achievement by welcoming colleagues to Royal Fort House to celebrate our Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) successes on 16 January.

Provost Professor Judith Squires celebrates our Global Challenges funding success with colleagues
Professor Judith Squires (Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost) and Professor Paddy Ireland (Interim PVC Research) celebrating the GCRF successes with award-holders and colleagues from RED.

The GCRF is an initiative driven by the United Nation’s ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, which has at its heart 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals represent a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. In response to the 2030 Agenda, the Government published its aid strategy which aims to:

      • address global challenges through disciplinary and interdisciplinary research;
      • strengthen capability for research and innovation, with developing countries and the UK; and
      • enable an agile response to emergencies and opportunities.

      All GCRF research projects must also focus on delivering benefits and outcomes which promote the welfare and economic development of Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMICs).

      We have been extremely successful in securing funding via this scheme here at the University of Bristol.  This success was facilitated by the early development of Bristol’s Global Challenges strategy, which Research England commended to other higher education institutions (HEIs) to encourage best practice, acknowledging the excellence and effort demonstrated by Bristol’s approach. The strategy was been expertly supported by our Global Challenges Steering Group, composed of experts in Official Development Assistance, with representation from Bristol’s Research Institutes and Faculty Research Directors.  Their guidance has been invaluable – and is much appreciated.

      As a result of our strategy, the University has been incredibly successful in attracting funding from the GCRF, with a success rate above 40%, and around £2 million a year coming in via QR funding (quality-related research funding, determined by the periodic assessment of HEIs) to support the activities outlined in the strategy. Since 2016, we have secured over 130 external awards worth more than £30 million.  Two examples include:

      • Professor Matthew Avison received £1.8m to lead the One Health Drivers of Antibacterial Resistance in Thailand (OH-DART) consortium. Working with colleagues at the Universities of Exeter and Bath, Mahidol University, Chulabhorn Research Institute and the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. The consortium’s aim is to define and prioritise the drivers of antibacterial drug resistance in humans in the community in Thailand, taking a multi-disciplinary approach.
      • Professor Leon Tikly and partners from India, Rwanda, Somalia and South Africa have received £4.65m to Transform Educations Systems for Sustainable Development. The aim of this research is to develop an understanding of how education systems can act as drivers of sustainable development.

      Many congratulations to everyone – academics and professional services – involved in these projects, and all the 130 projects, secured since 2016.  Congratulations too to Professor Helen Lambert, who has been appointed as Global Challenge Leader for Health on a part-time secondment to UKRI to March 2021.

      The event last week was held as a small ‘thank you’ to all those colleagues who have worked so hard to obtain these important GCRF funding awards and to help pursue the sustainable development goals. May our success in addressing the global challenges identified in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development continue.

Provost Celebration of Academic Achievement – Horizon 2020 success

By Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost

On the 26 September 2019 we had our first Provost Celebration of Academic Achievement of the new academic year, where we celebrated the hugely successful Horizon 2020 Awards.

Academics at the awards celebration
The Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Provost and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise) celebrating with the Horizon 2020 Awardees at the September Provost Celebration for Academic Achievement

If you aren’t already aware, Horizon 2020 is the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. It’s worth €80 billion and has been running since 2014 (ends 2020). The programme is unique in its size and scope and gives us the opportunity to not only engage in blue sky research across all research disciplines, but also to bring the brightest early career researchers to Bristol and to collaborate with the best researchers around Europe and the world.

(more…)

Rewarding excellence and tackling gender equality

By Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost

I was delighted to co-host an event last month alongside the Vice-Chancellor to celebrate the recent promotion of new Professors within the University.  A full list of those promoted to Professor and Associate Professor, formerly known as Reader, appear at the end of this post: congratulations to all who have achieved these much-deserved promotions. 

Celebratory event for newly promoted professors hosted by Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady and Provost Judith Squires on 24 September 2019 at Royal Fort House.

(more…)

Provost Celebration of Academic Achievement Receptions

By Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost

On Thursday last week (21 March) colleagues from across the University gathered together in Royal Fort House to celebrate the achievements of  Bristol Futures and to recognise colleagues who have worked so hard to deliver this transformational educational initiative. This event was part of a new series of monthly Provost Academic Achievement Receptions that I established when I took up my new role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost in January, designed to recognise just some of the many outstanding academic achievements of staff across the University.

The January celebration marked the Outstanding Ofsted result obtained by the School of Education, in which our PGCE programme was deemed outstanding in every category. Sadly, this event was affected by the threat of snow and amber weather warnings, so we had to wait for our February celebration of EPSRC CDT success to really get the series underway.

(more…)