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Vice-Chancellor's Research and Knowledge Exchange Fellows announced

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Published on 30 March 2023

Kat Langley, Floor Christie, Bob Hogg, Matthew Durey, Joe Butler, Lesley Deacon, Matthew Campbell, John Price, Yashar Salamzadeh, Nida Naveed, Sir David Bell, Becky Allen, Shafiq Ahmed
Kat Langley, Floor Christie, Bob Hogg, Matthew Durey, Joe Butler, Lesley Deacon, Matthew Campbell, John Price, Yashar Salamzadeh, Nida Naveed, Sir David Bell, Becky Allen, Shafiq Ahmed

The University’s first ever Vice-Chancellor’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Fellows have been announced.

The 14 Fellows, covering every Faculty within the University, will spend the next two years working on research projects which will support the wider research and knowledge exchange environment in the University.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Fellows are: Ralf Broeg and John Price (Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries); Kat Langley and Yashar Salamzadeh (Faculty of Business and Law); Lesley Deacon, Matthew Durey and Elizabeth Hidson (Faculty of Education & Society); Shafiq Ahmed, Joe Butler, Matthew Campbell, Floor Christie and Bob Hogg (Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing); Becky Allen and Nida Naveed (Faculty of Technology).

The Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell said, “Welcoming our first ever Vice-Chancellor’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Fellows is an auspicious moment for the University.

“It demonstrates our commitment to enhancing research and knowledge exchange across the institution by recognising and supporting outstanding colleagues who have the potential to develop their work even further in the future.

“I offer them my warmest congratulations and look forward to following their achievements in the coming months and years.”

The scheme will provide dedicated time and resources for researchers over two years to undertake activities that support the wider research and knowledge exchange environment in the University and aligns with the University's Research and Knowledge Exchange Plan.

Professor Michael Young, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) said: “Huge congratulations to our pioneer cohort of Vice-Chancellor’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Fellows.  

“We had applications from across all faculties and our campuses, with a wide range of subjects represented. The successful applicants all have ambitious and innovative plans for their two years as VC Fellows. This scheme is another example of our commitment to research and knowledge exchange, to create a vibrant, challenging and stimulating academic environment.”

The Research and Knowledge Exchange Fellows will undertake a number of projects over the next two years.

Ralf Broeg, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, will work on a collaborative/transdisciplinary development of new sound works for public spaces, with a research focus on sound materials, dissemination formats and compositional methods particularly suited to public spaces. Other research includes programme-based composition/sound production technologies and sculptural, architectural and material qualities.

Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Sports Journalism Dr John Price will focus on diversity in journalism. The research will help understand and tackle the lack of students from poorer backgrounds making it in the industry and the shortage of women studying sports journalism. It will create a journalism diversity network to encourage a wider range of people into the profession.

Dr Kat Langley, Senior Lecturer in Law, will extend the reach of law into the community, and legal practice centred around vulnerable groups. Dr Langley will work closely with colleagues in law, nursing and beyond to promote collaborative research which considers the impact of the law and legal education at grassroots level.

Dr Yashar Salamzadeh, Lecturer in Digital Business, will investigate the main challenges, barriers, and opportunities for businesses while taking into account the digital maturity and competencies of specific cases. His research will result in a framework of recommended policies for digital businesses to impact national and global economies. 

Senior Lecturer Social Work and Applied Social Sciences Dr Lesley Deacon has designed an intensive research-mindedness teaching programme called Facilitated Practice-based Research ©University of Sunderland, to support practitioners in developing research capacity through doing a practice research project together with research academics. The Fellowship will enable the next stage of development to embed this programme into research career pathways in social work and social care.

Dr Matthew Durey, Senior Lecturer in Social Science, will explore the cultural landscape of the City of Sunderland. In particular in the changes surrounding the redevelopment projects around Keel Square and the Riverside, and their impacts on the city’s cultural economy, local communities, and the urban ‘sense of place’.

Senior Lecturer in Education and Programme Leader for PgCert Education Dr Elizabeth Hidson will collaborate on research with international schools. The goal is to co-construct evidence-informed solutions to teaching and learning priorities that the school wants to focus on. Dr Hidson will support schools with self-improvement through action research and facilitate reciprocal knowledge exchange between teachers, schools and the University.

Dr Shafiq Ahmed, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Biology, will develop his laboratory research, generate publication outputs and drive forward knowledge and exchange activities with academic and industrial partners, which contributes to creating a vibrant research environment in the newly established Drug Discovery and Development Institute.

Lecturer in Psychology Dr Joe Butler will explore remote neuropsychology testing's feasibility and acceptability for patients and clinicians, including developing new tools for remote, self-administered brain health assessment. He will also work on collaborations between the Helen McArdle Nursing and Care Research Institute, the School of Psychology and the Faculty of Technology. 

Dr Matthew Campbell is Principal Investigator in Human Metabolism. He will research advanced wearable technologies, which have the potential to simplify the challenge of treatment complexity for diabetes. This fellowship will implement and evaluate a pioneering analytical tool that connects and aggregates data feeds from wearable devices to reveal hidden patterns otherwise missed when using these technologies alone.

Dr Floor Christie, Senior Lecturer in Public Health for Medicine, will research early diagnosis of cancer through uptake of cancer screening and work in partnership with ethnic minority groups. Her research is underpinned by a key principle: research should include the people whose health we aim to improve. This fellowship will expand the research and maximise impact.

Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics and Performance Analysis Dr Bob Hogg will extend the work of his Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Fellowship from 2020, building capacity through internal staff CPD and external masterclasses in research methodology and data analysis. The Fellowship will also aim to expand interdisciplinary networks beyond those currently based in Faculty of Business and Law and Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing and provide strategic leadership in this area.

Lecturer in Computer Science Dr Becky Allen will investigate the use of AI to create an adaptable, accessible digital musical instrument for educational and therapeutic purposes. She will determine whether the paradoxical idea of a universal bespoke instrument can be achieved. Innovative AI techniques will be employed to create an adaptive system for users with differing and often complex needs. 

Dr Nida Naveed, Programme Leader for Automotive Engineering, will work to strengthen the broader research and knowledge exchange community within the university, and align her activities with the Faculty's research and knowledge exchange plans to foster collaborative research and development.

Congratulations to all of our inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Fellows.

Our University aims to achieve an excellent reputation for research, innovation and knowledge exchange, with the benefits this brings to the communities we serve, regionally, nationally and globally. The Vice-Chancellor’s Research and Knowledge Exchange Fellows scheme is part of a wider initiative to ensure that academic staff feel valued and supported in a vibrant, challenging and stimulating academic environment that attracts, develops and retains outstanding students and staff.