HoS Update 14/07/2016

Dear Colleagues,

As the academic year (and my first as HoS) draws to a close, I just wanted to thank you all for the tremendous efforts and contributions over the past year, as well as share some news and highlights.
Graduation this week sees a celebration of student achievements, and I think we can all take a well deserved pat on the back on yet another cohort of graduates successfully departing with an excellent crop of degrees.

The next few weeks and months will see a range of changes and new arrivals.

New Staff

Professor David Knowles FREng will be joining us on 5th September, as Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Director (Engineering) of the South West Nuclear Hub.
David will be affiliated to the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and will be here on a part-time basis (0.7FTE), sharing the balance of his time with his current position as Technical Director – Energy at Atkins Ltd.
David brings a wealth of experience, both industrial and academic, with a strong background in the behaviour and structural integrity of high performance plant.

Professor Kate Robson-Brown, currently Professor of Biological Anthropology in the School of Arts, will be joining Mechanical Engineering on a part-time basis (0.4FTE) from August 2016.
Kate’s interests include osteoarchaeology, human functional morphology, evolutionary biomechanics and the relationship between the microarchitecture of bone, pathology, and biomechanical loading in life.

And just a reminder;

Dr Valeska Ting will be joining us in August 2016 as Reader in Smart Nanomaterials

Dr Aydin Nassehi will also be joining in September 2016 as Reader in Manufacturing Systems

Dr Tom Hill will be starting as a Lecturer in Dynamics from January 2017.

Clare Hickey has recently joined the professional services team as the Executive Assistant for Civil and PA to Sally Heslop.

I know that you will make ALL our new colleagues most welcome, as they become acquainted with the School and Faculty.

Further recruitment exercises are currently underway for a Chair in Structural Engineering/Head of Department for Civil Engineering, and a Lecturer in Structural Integrity to join the team in Mechanical Engineering, so expect more news as we continue to grow our academic team.

Over the summer, the professional services team will be recruiting two Undergraduate Administrators and also to the Senior Executive Assistant post to shortly be vacated by Julia Edwards. We can also look forward to appointing to the newly established role of Student Experience Manager who will be tasked with ensuring we make the best use of resources and facilities to support an engaged and happy student body.

New Roles

As previously advertised, a number of new roles and changes have taken place, as part of the School’s continued progress and development:

I am pleased to announce that Julian Booker will become our first School Education Director, and join the Senior Management Team.

After several years service, John MacDonald will be stepping down as PGR Director of Studies to be replaced by Theo Tryfonas.
Many thanks to John for his excellent and valued contribution.

Mike Tierney will be stepping down as Deputy PGR Director of Studies (MechEng) to be replaced by Michael Patterson
Many thanks also to Mike for his much valued contribution

The retirement of Mike Barton will see Steve Bullock take on the Faculty Widening Participation Officer role.

And as part of our efforts to address the future pipeline of applicants, we will be creating a dedicated School Outreach Team, led by Joel Ross.

Another exciting development will see Paul Weaver take on a shared role between Bristol and the University of Limerick, as part of a large initiative to create a composites research centre in Ireland.
It is hoped that this will allow a mutually beneficial partnership to grow between the two institutions.

Finally, we have a few of colleagues reducing their commitments or retiring;

Colin Taylor will be moving to 0.6FTE and focusing entirely on the opportunities offered by UKCRIC, and Patrick Godfrey has taken a well earned rest and reduced his commitment to one day per month.

After 8 years of service, Julia Edwards, Senior Executive Assistant and stalwart of the School over this time, will be retiring at the beginning of August.
Please join me in wishing Julia the very best for her retirement over tea and cakes in the SCR at 10am on Tuesday 2nd August.


The annual promotions process has now concluded, and I am sure you will join with me in warmly congratulating colleagues who have been successful in this round:
• Julian Booker on his promotion to Professor of Mechanical Design Dngineering
• Mike Yearworth on his promotion to Professor of Engineering Systems
• Theo Tryfonas on his promotion to Reader in Smart Cities
• Tasos Sextos on his promotion to Reader in Earthquake Engineering

Sadly, this also coincides with Mike Yearworth departing for pastures new as he takes up a Chair in Management Science at Exeter. Our best wishes go with him.

School Strategy and Performance

The draft School strategy has now been circulated, and I look forward to the School discussing this in late summer.
As we have recently seen, the environment in which we operate can change rapidly, and having a clear indication of what, who, where, when, why and how is ever more important.
As I stated previously, the plan is to have a dedicated School Meeting on this document, with a view to having it finalised before the start of the teaching year, and I am happy to hear any individual thoughts/ideas/comments before then.

As you may have heard, the University is under some pressure to arrest the decline in our position in certain league tables, especially those predicated on education rather than research.
I thought it worth highlighting the fact that within the School we are actually performing VERY WELL in this respect, and urge you to take a quick look at the Complete University Guide 2017 (www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings/) to see the evidence.
Whilst not advocating complacency, we should be proud of the fact that we do a great job and we are open to and enthusiastic about continual improvement.

To finish, a few more routine notices;

There will be a further 25 lecture theatres equipped with Mediasite lecture capture technology over the Summer, in time for AY2016/17.
It is expected that around 80% of lectures will then be recordable.
Please be reminded that ANY opt-out of Mediasite recordings will NOT automatically be carried over to AY16/17.
Any such opt out requests will be the exception and must be approved by Head of Department/Head of School.

Staff Survey (Nov 2015): Rest assured that your inputs have been carefully scrutinised and an appropriate Action Plan put into place.
More updates on this as we proceed into the new AY, but hopefully you should begin to see tangible changes as per the many comments and suggestions.

An important date for the diary, we will be enjoying a School visit by the new VC, Hugh Brady, 09:30-11:30 Tuesday 7th February 2017.
There will be a chance to ask questions and hear more about the strategy implementation.

So we look ahead with excitement as the Departments, School and Faculty continue to demonstrate their successes across the many facets of our activities.
The next 12 months will see the QB New Wing come to fruition and the exciting prospects that that will open for new ideas on teaching and research.

It’s now time to recharge the batteries, take a bit of a breather, and prepare ourselves for the coming year.

Very best wishes,


New Appointments to the School 09/05/2016

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great pleasure that I would like to announce three new colleagues who will be joining the School as academic staff in Mechanical Engineering in the near future.

Dr Valeska Ting will be joining us from Bath, where she is currently a Prize Research Fellowship in Smart Nanomaterials in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Valeska is interested in exploring the possibility of enhancing the storage capacity of existing nanoporous hydrogen storage materials,
creating materials for selective storage and sequestration of gases such as carbon dioxide and
investigating novel drug delivery methods through development of active nanoscale systems.
Valeska will be starting in August 2016.

Dr Aydin Nassehi will also be joining us from Bath, where he is currently a Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering.
Aydin’s research interests are focused on computer modelling and analysis of manufacturing systems.
The main emphasis of his work is on developing a comprehensive framework for combining the current applications of modelling and
analysis of manufacturing systems, namely, integration, simulation and optimisation.
Aydin will be joining us in September 2016.

Dr Tom Hill is currently a postdoctoral research associate here in the Department of Mechanical Engineering,
and will become a Lecturer in Dynamics from January 2017.
Tom has interests in non-linear dynamics, in particular new methods of identification and analysis.

Also, many congratulations to existing colleagues;
Dr Pia Sartor, Dr Alexander Velichko, Dr Ben Woods, Dr Dario DiMaio and Dr Djamel Rezgui, who were all recipients of new appointments in the recent recruitment exercise.

I trust that you will make our new colleagues most welcome, as collegiality across the School is one of our key strengths.

Further recruitment exercises are currently underway for Chairs in Mechanical and Civil Engineering, so expect more news as we continue to grow our team.

Very best wishes,