News in brief

23 October 2014

New university librarian swaps Australia for Sheffield

Librarian Anne HornA top librarian is swapping the sunny shores of Australia for Sheffield to embark on her dream job.

Anne Horn will travel almost 10,000 miles to take up her new role as University Librarian and Director of Library Services at the University of Sheffield.

Currently University Librarian and Executive Director of Academic Support at Deakin University in Victoria, Anne will become the ninth Librarian of the University of Sheffield and the first woman to hold the role.

Anne joined Deakin in 2005 having previously worked at the University of Queensland and EBSCO Australia.
“I am delighted to be joining the University of Sheffield,” said Anne.

“The University’s aspirations and culture, and the Library’s reputation and talented team, have made the decision to move to the UK an easy one.

“My husband, Mac, will be accompanying me to Sheffield and my son Douglas will be following us in his gap year. We are becoming increasingly excited with the prospect of exploring Sheffield, the beauties of Yorkshire and the UK.”

She added: “I understand that it will be near the end of winter when we arrive, which may allow us some time to acclimatise!”

University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Keith Burnett, said: "The role of University Librarian is crucial to the academic purpose of our University. Teaching and research both rely on the highest quality of leadership in this area, and Anne was the unanimous choice of the selection panel, from a strong field.

“Our new Librarian will be fortunate to take on a library service which is rightly recognised as outstanding. Accolades such as the recent Number One for Student Experience and the award of Outstanding Library Team in the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards reflect Martin's exceptional contribution and leadership.”

Anne will take over the position from Martin Lewis who has been Director of Library Services and University Librarian since 2003. He also served as on the University Council as an elected Senate member.

8 October 2014

University of Sheffield awarded £1.3 million for EPSRC Project

A collaborative project led by the University of Sheffield has been awarded £1.3 million to pave the way for new drugs and treatments for dementia sufferers.

MRI brain scanThe project, entitled One-stop-shop microstructure-sensitive perfusion/diffusion MRI: Application to vascular cognitive impairment, will deliver MRI sequences and analysis tools to link neuropathology, neuroimaging, and biophysics, with the aim of discovering novel biomarkers of disease onset and progression, and to understand the effects of new drugs and treatments.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the 3 year project, was ranked 1st out of 5 proposals funded from 40 submissions and involves the University’s Faculty of Engineering (CISTIB and INSIGNEO), Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (SITraN and INSIGNEO) and Department of Psychology (Pre-Clinical MRI Facility), as well as other universities, charities and industrial partners from the UK and Europe.

Professor Alejandro Frangi, of CISTIB at the University of Sheffield, who is part of the project team, said: "We are delighted by this phenomenal opportunity to contribute to the efforts to combat dementias. It is through interdisciplinary efforts like OCEAN that we will be able to develop appropriate diagnostic and staging tools for the disease. I am really proud to count for this journey with colleagues in SITraN and INSIGNEO as well as with experts in the universities of Manchester and Cardiff, and beyond."

For more information, visit EPSRC

6 October 2014

SPERI and New Statesman reveal inaugural political economy prize winner

Speri prize winnerThe Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) has today (6 October 2014) announced the winner of the inaugural New Statesman SPERI prize celebrating the most innovative and exciting thinkers in political economy.

Professor Mariana Mazzucato, of the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex, has been honoured for her work on the entrepreneurial state and smart growth after topping a shortlist of five inspirational scholars to win the prestigious award.

The prize was launched this year by the New Statesman magazine and SPERI at the University of Sheffield.

It will be awarded biennially to the scholar who has succeeded most effectively in disseminating original and critical ideas in political economy to a wider public audience in the preceding two or three years.

Professor Tony Payne, Director of SPERI at the University of Sheffield, said: “Mariana Mazzucato is a fabulous first winner of this new prize. She fulfils the criteria that describe the prize to the letter.”

Helen Lewis, Deputy Editor of the New Statesman, added: “Mariana Mazzucato is one of the most engaging and interesting thinkers currently working in the field of political economy. Her work on the entrepreneurial state and smart growth is required reading for anyone working in economic policy-making.”

The shortlist for the prize contained some of the most innovative and exciting thinkers in political economy working today. They were: Mariana Mazzucato; Ha-Joon Chang (University of Cambridge); Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics); Wolfgang Streeck (Max Planck Institute, Cologne); Anne Wren (Trinity College, Dublin); and Simon Wren-Lewis (University of Oxford).

As part of her prize, Professor Mazzucato will deliver the The New Statesman SPERI Prize Lecture next month on: “Smart growth: an innovative way to tackle inequality”.

Professor Mazzucato said: “I am honoured and delighted to receive the New Statesman SPERI prize, especially given the high calibre of the shortlist. I hope it will help focus attention on the urgent need to tackle rising inequality.

"This is not just about tax: we need to fundamentally rethink how we talk about wealth creation. Ignoring the key role of the state – or the tax payer – in wealth creation has, in my view, been a lead cause of inequality, allowing some (hyped up) actors to reap a rate of return way beyond their actual contribution. My Prize Lecture will focus on this dysfunctional dynamic – and what to do about it.”

Professor Mazzucato will deliver The New Statesman SPERI Prize Lecture at the Emmanuel Centre in London at 6.30pm on Thursday 13 November 2014. The lecture is free, but places are limited. For more details, see newstatesman.com/events

01 October 2014

University to launch pioneering Parkinson’s research following funding boost

An innovative University of Sheffield study, aimed at determining if a new test could lead to an earlier diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, has been given a $100,000 funding boost by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

NeuronsThe one-year study, which will be led by Dr Tom Stafford, from the University’s Department of Psychology, alongside José Obeso, Professor of Neurology at the University of Navarra in Spain, will investigate whether the onset of Parkinson's could be detected by a decrease in the frequency of action-slip errors in typing. This is where an over-learnt, habitual action intrudes on what a person intends to do.

If the researchers’ theory is proved correct, it could lead to the development of a highly sensitive test that may allow earlier diagnosis of Parkinson's, something that could help researchers better understand the disease and develop new therapies, whilst also allowing physicians to intervene with treatments at an earlier stage.

The study is one of a number of research projects across the world to receive funding from The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which since 2000 has funded more than $450 million in research aimed at helping to find a cure for Parkinson's disease or improve therapies for those living with Parkinson's today.

Professor Tom Stafford said: "Detecting Parkinson's at an earlier stage is vital in helping people with the condition minimise the symptoms of the disease, which currently affects around 127,000 people in the UK alone. I’m very grateful for the funding from The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is enabling this much needed research to happen."

To find out more, visit Michael J. Fox Foundation

29 September 2014

Sheffield welcomes Kenyan President’s Scholarship winner

A prestigious Kenyan scholarship has been awarded to a student who has chosen the University of Sheffield as her destination to pursue her academic dreams.

Wilkister receiving her awardThe 2014 Kenyan President’s Scholarship, aimed at giving a Kenyan student the chance to study in the UK, has been awarded to Wilkister Kiyumbu Ludenyi, who will be enrolling at the University this month to pursue a BA (hons) in Economics and Politics.

The Scholarship is a unique project which is jointly funded by Brookhouse International School in Kenya and The Northern Consortium UK, created out of 11 of the UK’s leading universities, with Sheffield being one of the founding member institutions. One award is made every year to fully fund a student from the local high school system in Kenya, who would otherwise not be able to study in the UK.

Wilkister received her scholarship during a Presidential Awards Ceremony and she follows in some successful footsteps; Stacey Achungo, who was awarded the scholarship in 2011, graduated from Sheffield this year with an impressive first class honours degree in BEng Electronic Engineering.

The University of Sheffield has been welcoming students from Kenya for many decades and Wilkister will join an international community of over 6,000 international students. This year Sheffield was awarded the title of Number 1 University in the UK for student experience, which was voted for by the students.

23 September 2014

Research associate awarded for inspiring next generation of scientists

A University of Sheffield post-doctoral research associate has been named winner of the Society of Biology's Science Communication Awards 2014 thanks to her dedication to informing and engaging the public in science.

Dr Nicola Hemmings from the University of Sheffield has received the Established Researcher Prize in the Society's annual awards, which are intended to reward outreach work carried out by scientists to inform, enthuse and engage the public.

Nicola created a three-tiered programme to teach children as young as five about fertility. She has engaged thousands of local school children by developing hands-on activities on fossils to solar-panels and mentoring undergraduates to deliver them in conjunction with regular lectures. She has also developed workshops to help adult audiences understand how studying sperm can help save endangered species.

Nicola said, "I'm delighted and honoured to receive this award. It is wonderful to gain recognition for something I love doing! I hope my work inspires other scientists to engage the public with their research too."

The competition was open to bioscience researchers from UK universities and institutes in two categories; New Researcher Prize (£750) and Established Researcher Prize (£1500).

Dr Steve Cross, head of public engagement at UCL and chair of the judging panel said: “We were really impressed by the process that Nicola uses to engage with communities outside academia. She is utterly committed to learning, improving and refining her work, to help people connect with both her research and what it is to be a scientist."

The awards will be presented at the Society's Annual Award Ceremony on Tuesday 14 October during Biology Week 2014.

To find out more, please visit The Society of Biology

12 September 2014

Garden of Eden cabaret spectacular

Garden of EdenThe University of Sheffield’s Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies is hosting a Bible belter with a difference - the magnificent Garden of Eden Cabaret Evening.

The enthralling Hidden Perspectives event will see a host of cabaret and variety acts take to the stage to perform spectacular show-stoppers including biblical burlesque, miraculous magic and amazing mind-reading.

The audience will enjoy a huge range of talents including; award winning burlesque from Eliza Delite, entertainment from the Silent Clown Kiki Lovechild, delightful music from the Neil Pennock Quartet, heavenly boylesque by Chris Stuart Wilson and mystical magic from Griffith and Jones amongst others.

The unique evening of entertainment, which is part of the University’s 11-day Festival of the Mind, will take place in the stunning, specially erected 1920s Spiegeltent at Barker’s Pool (outside John Lewis) on Friday 26 September 2014.

Doors and the bar open at 7.30pm and the performance which is suitable for over 18s only will begin at 8.30pm.

Tickets are £11 in advance or £15 on the door, concessions are £8.50.

To learn more about Hidden Perspectives please visit hiddenperspectives.org

10 September 2014

Global institute hosts delegation of senior government officials from China

A delegation of senior Chinese government officials visited a world-leading institute at the University of Sheffield to learn about the challenges facing democratic engagement and party politics in the UK.The delegation

The 20-strong contingent was given an in-depth talk by Professor Matthew Flinders, Director of the University’s Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics, analysing topics from the Scottish referendum to the rise of UKIP.

The visit, organised by Sino-UK Link, a non-government organisation established to promote the exchange on economy and culture between the people of China and Britain, further enhances the Crick Centre’s reputation as a global leader in promoting the public understand of politics.

The centre, which is based in the University’s Department of Politics, strives to close the gap that has arguably emerged between politicians and the public and provides a vibrant intellectual environment of scholars engaged in research across all areas of politics and beyond.

Professor Flinders said: “It’s a reflection of the international reputation of the Department of Politics and the rapidly increasing profile of the Crick Centre that led this large delegation of senior Chinese government officials to visit Sheffield.

“With the Scottish referendum in a week and a general election next year, this is a great time for them to visit. Hopefully this initial meeting will lead to further discussions in the future.”

Since the Crick Centre launched last year, it has cemented itself at the heart of a global network of research centres, campaign groups, policy makers, international bodies and a myriad of organisations committed to breathing new life into politics.

As well as securing research grants and delivering specialist training, it has organised a series of public events including hosting a Parliamentary Select Committee at the University’s Arts Tower.

Professor Flinders added: “The Crick Centre is studying and promoting engaged citizenship around the world. This visit was hopefully the beginning of a new link between East and West that may have an impact within and beyond academe.”