SUMMER 2013 :: Issue 19
Back to the future?
Award-winning author and alumnus Ken MacLeod explains how first-hand knowledge informed his latest novelâ€™s vision of the Brunel campus in the future. Graduate Job Hunting
Organising for Success
Behind the Scenes
Advice and services to help this summerâ€™s graduating students
A closer look at the Transformational Change Project
Project report, news from the team, and next steps
Meet the Governance, Information and Legal Office team
Contents and Credits :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 2
Latest news from
around the campus 6-7
students â€“ what now?
phase 2 update 8-9
Behind the Scenes: Governance, Information and Legal Office
Feature: Made in
Student and graduate news round-up
Staff news round-up
Interview: Ken Macleod
Research news round-up
Editor Rachel Turvey
Reporter Joe Norman Design Andrew Hill Photography Sally Trussler, Neil Graveney Print Brunel University Press
firstname.lastname@example.org 01895 265588 Express is available to read and download on our website: brunel.ac.uk/news/express. Extra printed copies are available from the Communications Team.
LATEST NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 3
Congratulations to the class of 2013! The Express team would like to wish all Brunel students who are graduating this summer the best of luck in the future, whatever you go on to do. We hope you have a wonderful graduation day. This edition of Express includes a feature outlining some of the services that you can still access as a graduate once you’ve left Brunel, to give you the best possible start in the the career you want. We also hear from some former Brunel students who’ve gone on to be successful in a range of fields, from music promotion to sustainable engineering. Turn to pages 12-15 to find out more.
We hope you’ll stay in touch and let us know how you get on!
Brunel appoints new Chancellor, Pro‑Chancellor and vice-principal Brunel University welcomes a number of new faces to the team of Principal Officers this summer, as a new Chancellor, Pro‑Chancellor and Vice-Principal Education and International take up their roles. As the University’s new Chancellor, Sir Richard Sykes will bring the combined experience of a career in business and a series of major posts in science and education. He is currently Chairman of The Royal Institution of Great Britain and of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and is an Honorary Graduate of Brunel. Prior to this he was Rector of Imperial College London, Chief Executive and Chairman of GlaxoWellcome, and Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline. Express interviewed Sir Richard on his plans and first impressions of Brunel – read the full interview on page 22. New Pro-Chancellor Nazir Afzal OBE has been a member of the University’s Council and is a Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service. He has been the
national lead on several major legal and policy issues including Violence against Women and Girls, Child Sexual Abuse, Anti-Social Behaviour, Honour Based Violence, Forced Marriage, and Stalking. He is also a legal advisor for BBC and ITV dramas. Professor Andrew George will take up the the newly created post of Vice-Principal Education and International in October, bringing together the key themes of curriculum development, graduate employability and the development of international partnerships. Professor George is currently Director of the Graduate School and Director of the School of Professional Development at Imperial College London. A Professor of Molecular Immunology, he is Chair of the UK’s National Research Ethics Advisors’ Panel, Governor of Richmond Adult Community College, a Trustee of Action Medical Research and a member of the British Society for Immunology and the British Transplantation Society.
LATEST NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 4
Organising for Success Staff and students at Brunel are looking forward to engaging in the shaping of a wide-ranging and ambitious strategic change programme this summer, following the announcement by the Vice-Chancellor of the Transformation Project (TxP). The overarching aim of the TxP is to secure Brunel’s position as an internationally competitive research-intensive university. Led by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Julia Buckingham, the project will address national and global drivers affecting the higher education sector. Professor Buckingham explained: “It is clear to all of us that we are experiencing a period of great change in higher education in the UK and globally. “To succeed in this new world and realise our ambitious plans, we must identify and build on our key strengths to enable us to attract the most talented students and to develop critical mass in those fields of research where we are, or can be, truly internationally competitive. It is essential that we have a cohesive academic environment which supports both the research and the teaching missions of the University, fosters collaboration, and recognises that
while the academic disciplines are the bedrock of our teaching and fundamental research, research funding is focused on solving big global challenges which are, by their very nature, interdisciplinary.” The project outline involves bringing together the current eight academic Schools into possibly three Colleges, which will be aligned with a similar number of Research Institutes in structures designed to encourage interdisciplinary work. Administrative structures and processes will also be reviewed to ensure that they effectively support the aims and objectives of the new organisation. Overall direction of the TxP lies with the Chief Operating Officer, Paul Thomas, and the detail of the supporting projects is in the hands of four project groups. One, under the leadership of Dr Bill Leahy, is focusing on the Colleges; the second, led by Professor Geoff Rodgers, is considering the new Research Institutes; the third, headed by Dr John Robinson, is devising an efficient administration that will support the new structures; while the fourth, chaired by Dr Mariann Rand-Weaver, is looking at the amendments to the Senate and Constitution necessary to enable any changes to happen.
Describing the work of his group, Dr Leahy said: “It is a rare privilege to have the opportunity to consider the potential to transform key elements of an organisation quite so comprehensively. I and my colleagues do not underestimate the size of the challenge, but we are confident that we can develop a set of proposals that will help to position the University to meet its ambitions for the future.” The four groups, which include representatives from the Union of Brunel Students, will be meeting regularly throughout the year to establish and refine the future way forward for the University. The groups will not work in isolation and will seek input from across the University on a range of important issues that will arise. The intention is that the resulting plans should be agreed by the end of 2013 and should be implemented by September 2014. You can follow the progress of each group on the Organising for Success intranet pages ( https://intra.brunel.ac.uk/ p/OrganisingForSuccess) where you can put your questions and comments to the group heads, and see the responses to the most frequently asked questions to date. Regular briefings to staff and students will complement the Reference and Focus Group activity that will begin in the coming weeks.
LATEST NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 5
Warsan Shire announced as first ever winner of Brunel University African Poetry Prize The Kenyan-born Somali poet Warsan Shire won the first Brunel University African Poetry Prize in April. crafted, subtle and understated in its use of language and metaphor yet still able to evoke a strong sense of mood and place that touches the reader.”
24-year-old Warsan, who is based in London, has performed her poetry internationally, and her pamphlet Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth was published in 2011 by flipped eye. Her poems have been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. The judges praised Warsan’s poetry for its combination of substance, beauty and drama. Her work was described as “beautifully
The Prize is aimed at the development and celebration of African poetry, and was founded by Brunel Reader in Creative Writing Bernardine Evaristo. Bernardine said: “African poets are rarely published in Britain. I hope this prize will introduce exciting new poets to Britain’s editors.” Funded by Brunel, Commonwealth Writers and The African Centre, the £3,000 Prize is open to poets who have not yet published a full-length collection and who were born in Africa, who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African.
Urban Scholars Programme shortlisted for THELMA award Brunel’s fundraising activities to support the Urban Scholars Programme were shortlisted for the Outstanding University Fundraising Initiative title at the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2013. Funds are needed to support scholars directly, to meet the costs of the Programme and to provide research into the effectiveness of different models of intervention.
Launched in 1999, Urban Scholars provides additional academic support for inner London school children perceived by their teachers to have substantial potential but who are at risk of falling out of education before progressing to university.
The short-listing recognises the diversity of the support secured by Brunel’s fundraising teams. Activities include a mix of corporate and professional support, charitable trusts, foundations, research funding, individual donors and fundraising events. This sustained fundraising programme has been so successful that it is now being used as a model for other university fundraising teams hoping to replicate its impact.
Brunel delegation holds training workshops in China A delegation from Brunel travelled to China in March to host three agent training workshops, with the aim of further enhancing Brunel’s growing reputation in the country. Oliver Goh, Brunel International’s Country Manager for China, was joined by Professor John Stonham, Dr Andrew Russell and Dr Ahmad Ghoneim to host the training workshops in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Agents are an integral part of the Chinese higher education market, with studies suggesting that up to 80% of Chinese students use them when choosing a university. Agent training events are encouraged by the QAA, and the free workshops included sessions on Brunel’s courses and a briefing from the British Council on visa requirements. Running alongside the workshops were alumni networking lunches, allowing the agents to meet former students and learn more about their successes – a persuasive argument for choosing Brunel. The team also ran a booth as part of the 18th China International Education Exhibition Tour (CIEET). CIEET education fairs attract almost 500 institutions from around the world and over 40,000 visitors. Oliver Goh commented: “Applications from China have been on the rise across the sector in recent years, and Brunel has seen a 50% rise in applications for 2013/14. A sustained effort to increase Brunel’s profile is clearly a worthy investment.” Following the trip, Brunel hosted HE professionals from around the UK for a workshop on Chinese social media, jointly organised by Sina Weibo (the ‘Chinese Twitter’) and the British Council.
FEATURE :: LATEST NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 6
IntraBrunel: Phase 2 Update Phase 1 of IntraBrunel went live in October 2012, launching the central elements of Brunel’s new intranet platform, including an updated design, customisable homepage, and powerful search engine. University Web Manager Gareth Jones tells Express what’s been happening since then.
What’s new? The Project Team has been working hard to get Phase 2 up and running, building tools and features that will be used to create departmental sites. The first set of new sites, including Senate and Staff Development, was launched around Easter, and more releases are planned for the Summer. After the Summer our focus will be on planning new sites for the Colleges and Institutes, following the outcomes of the Transformational Change Programme (TxP). We’ve obviously had to rethink our migration plans a bit in light of the TxP but, happily for us, we’re able to factor our ongoing work around it, so we don’t need to completely rewrite our lovely, colour-coded and immensely detailed Phase 2 rollout schedule just yet! Our Project Team has changed a bit too, following the departures from Brunel of Paul Doyle and Carey Clifford. Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Dany Nobus has joined the Project Team as Academic Champion, ensuring that we have the strategic level input (and coffee!) required to keep moving forward. Regular updates on the project progress are available at https://intra.brunel.ac.uk/p/IntraBrunel
Remember to try… …personalising your homepage
…creating your own profile
Click ‘Customise this page’ in the top right hand corner of your IntraBrunel homepage to add or remove content from the homepage, and change your colour preferences.
Go to the ‘My Links’ menu, then click ‘My Profile’ to add information about your research and work interests, skills and current projects, as well as a photo.
…using the interactive campus
…creating your own bookmarks
Search for a person, office or building to find contact details and a map, and find travel information for the local area.
Go to the ‘My Links’ menu, then click ‘Manage My Links’ to add bookmarks for pages you visit regularly.
…submitting a news item, notice or event
Visit the Help site at
Use the ‘Submit’ links on the News and Events homepages to request publication on IntraBrunel.
FEATURE :: LATEST NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 7
Sites launched recently
Transformational Change Programme: https://intra.brunel.ac.uk/p/OrganisingForSuccess
The Organising for Success site provides the platform for the Transformational Change project teams to communicate with all staff and students. As well as information about each project strand and regular updates on their progress, the site also features interactive forms to allow questions to be posted directly to each team.
Staff Development: https://intra.brunel.ac.uk/s/StaffDev
The Staff Development site uses elements of the design layout first seen in the Finance site, whilst retaining elements of their well-established visual identity. As well as online workshop booking, the new site also allows staff to browse through previous courses they have attended via the “Your Records” link.
Colleagues in the Computer Centre provided ongoing support as we started thinking about how to migrate our G drive content to IntraBrunel. The consultation process was really helpful and sessions were provided with colleagues in Records and Staff Development to ensure that we always stayed on track.
Kathryn Gomm Quality and Standards Officer
The opportunity to revisit our Student Centre web pages was perfectly timed; the resulting new and improved look of the pages following the consultation and the development support provided by the project team has been really beneficial and we hope to go live with a new aesthetically ‘up to date’ site shortly. The migration of the Student Centre G: drive has enabled us to redefine the protocols around departmental document storage whilst radically reducing the amount of content typically saved; partly through removal of duplication but also in revisiting version control requirements.
Executive Board: https://intra.brunel.ac.uk/m/ExecutiveBoard
The Executive Board is the University’s senior management committee. Using the same meetings functionality developed for the Senate website, it provides a central space to store and disseminate papers and minutes to its members, avoiding the need to circulate large files via email. It also aims to make the activities of high-level committees more transparent by communicating both membership and meeting frequency.
Sites nearing completion • Student Centre • Operations
Louise Merritt Head of Student Centre
The whole process was a pretty ‘lighttouch’ experience; I felt involved from start to finish, but I never felt daunted by what might appear to be a huge task. Understandably, the Staff Development team had to organise the content for our IntraBrunel site, but the technical team were brilliant at keeping us on track. They really listened to what we want Brunel staff to experience when they visit our site and they arrived at workable solutions for us. The training that we attended was really valuable for all members of the team – I don’t think we can call ourselves experts (yet!) but we’re definitely confident.
• Quality Standards Assurance • IntraBrunel help site
Lorna Lines Head of Staff Development
Student and Graduate NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 8
International Research Fellow brings a global perspective to comparative healthcare project The School of Health Sciences and Social Care has welcomed Canadian researcher Dr James Shaw to conduct a comparative study into how health policies affect the transition of older people between hospital and home. Canada has a similar public healthcare system to the NHS, and Dr Shaw, who is based at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, is comparing how healthcare professionals in London and Toronto collaborate and how this affects patient care. The two-year postdoctoral fellowship comprises one year at Brunel and one in Toronto, and is funded by two Canadian organisations – the Canadian Institute for Health Research and the Healthcare Technology and Place Program. James chose to come to Brunel in order to work with Professor Christina Victor and Dr Wendy Martin, and to take the opportunity to live in London for a year. He said: “It’s been fascinating getting to know British culture. Everyone has gone out of their way to make me feel connected. I’ve been offered every opportunity I could hope for.” The School is also benefitting from the expertise and global perspective of Prasath Jayakaran, a postdoctoral researcher from Vellore, near Chennai in South India. Prasath’s initial one-year project investigates how older people in the community adapt physiologically to walking aids, and follows on from his PhD study at the University of Otago, New Zealand. “The academic staff here has the expertise to help me research what I wanted to,” said Prasath. “I am impressed with how the School’s research informs their teaching.”
Formula 1 stars to ride Brunel-designed kart at the Red Bull Soapbox Derby Brunel Motorsport students had a visit from former Formula 1 racer Johnny Herbert and Sky Sports F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz in June, as the Brunel team finished preparing Sky Sports F1’s entry for the Red Bull Soapbox Derby 2013. The Sky team approached Brunel to build their entry, to be driven by three-time grand prix winner Herbert. Race sponsors Sky Sports filmed the students developing the kart from bare chassis to rugged, road-worthy buggy, as well as the stars testing it out for the first time. The Soapbox Derby features handbuilt, non-motorised karts, with the aim of bringing together “experienced racers and amateurs alike to design and build outrageous soapbox dream machines and compete against the clock in a downhill race.” The judges will be looking for the fastest racers, but also for the team with the most creative approach to kart design and the most flamboyant racing style. Previous designs have included a piano, a giant corn on the cob, a jail cell and the Golden Gate Bridge. With this in mind, the Brunel team created a mascot from insulating
foam that hardens when sprayed, in the shape of a sherbet lemon sweet that they nicknamed ‘Herbert’s Lemon’. In the race, Johnny will be in the front seat, driving the kart, whilst Ted will act as pusher, jumping into the rear when the vehicle gains momentum on the downhill track. “I’ve been massively impressed with the students,” Kravitz commented. “The quality of the work is top-notch. For engineering excellence we couldn’t have come anywhere better than Brunel.” “They’ve started off with a very good project,” added Johnny, “which hopefully will lead us to our victory at the Red Bull soapbox challenge!” The first prize for the winning team is a tour of the Red Bull Racing Factory and another opportunity to race at a high performance track day. For more information about the Red Bull Soapbox Race, view their Facebook event at www.facebook.com/ events/338421159604343, visit the official website at www.redbullsoapboxracer.com, or follow the @REDBULLUK Twitter account.
Student and Graduate NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 9
Three designs by teams of Brunel postgraduate Design students will be realised by Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd as installations at their UK offices. The company commissioned one installation for their new headquarters in Uxbridge, but felt unable to choose the best submission – instead, they accepted all three. Vice-President Julian Hunt said: “The judging panel were overwhelmed by the students’ quality of work, the considerations around the use of materials, and the way that each team reflected our values.” Second year International Business student Abdu Nada made the top five shortlist for the MTV Student of the Year competition, run in partnership with Disney Pixar’s Monsters University. Abdu was selected from amongst thousands of student entrants to win a week’s work experience at MTV’s headquarters in Camden.
English and Creative Writing PhD student Liesel Schwarz has won the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s prestigious Joan Hessayon Award for new writers, for her steampunk adventure A Conspiracy of Alchemists. The novel, published earlier this year, is the first in a trilogy entitled The Chronicles of Light and Shadow. Liesel completed the novel during her MA in Creative Writing and is working on the second and third volumes for her PhD.
as part of a three-day relay between UK universities. An on-board black box measured the economy metrics achieved by each driver, with awards made to the top three eco drivers at the Formula Student Awards Ceremony at Silverstone in July. Students Simon Grundy, Sally Hook, Christopher Moore, Samuel Donoghue, Andrew Sime and Victoria Wallis all won £50 worth of gift vouchers for being good neighbours. The University and the Union of Brunel Students launched the Brunel Good Neighbour Award with the aim of encouraging interconnection between local residents and students. Mrs B Monks, who lives on Cleveland Road, nominated the six Brunel students for being “a pleasure to have as neighbours”.
Students from MSc Automotive and Motorsport Engineering and BEng Motorsport Engineering competed in the Diesel Driving Eco Challenge in June. The team drove a new Ford Fiesta from Brunel to Kingston University
Industrial Design and Technology alumnus wins international design awards Duncan Shotton, who graduated from Brunel in 2008 with a first class BA in Industrial Design and Technology, has won two A’ Design Awards for his quirky and innovative products. A’ Design Awards is a premier annual juried design competition that honours the best designers, architects, engineers, studios and design companies worldwide and helps them find opportunities to reach new markets. Duncan received a Gold award in the Young Design category for his studio, the Duncan Shotton Design Studio in Tokyo, and the highest Platinum award in the Stationery category for the Real
Boy Pin, a push-pin in the form of a wooden Pinocchio character with the pin forming its nose. Since moving to Japan in 2012 Duncan has been working internationally on design commissions and collaborations, and was shortlisted for Design Week’s Rising Star Award last year. He describes the concept behind his studio as “to think in a non-linear fashion”, referring to the unusual juxtapositions that distinguish his designs, and “to create products that engage users emotionally and promote happiness”. You can keep track of Duncan and his designs via his website, http://dshott.co.uk
INTERVIEW :: Student and Graduate NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 10
Interview: Ken MacLeod Express reporter and PhD research student Joseph Norman interviewed the award‑winning author and Brunel alumnus Ken MacLeod following the publication of his latest book Intrusion (2012), which depicts the Brunel campus in the near future. Around the roundabout and along the main road past the RAF barracks (DANGER: MINES), swing right into Kingston Lane. In through the security gates, scanned and frisked by sensors. The sign above the gates announced:
Brunel University and Science Park Plc
WARNING FREE SPEECH ZONE
The State of the Culture: A One-Day Symposium on Iain M. Banks’s Utopia will be held on campus on 11 September 2013. Places cost £15 including lunch and refreshments. Please email joseph.norman@ brunel.ac.uk to arrange payment and book your place.
Image courtesy of Kyknoord / flickr.com
Those who normally enter the Brunel campus via this route may find the preceding description a little shocking. You will pleased to know that this high security version of campus is only necessary in a far-future vision from Ken MacLeod’s debut novel The Star Fraction (1995). In this political thriller, winner of the Prometheus award and nominee for the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1996, Brunel science researchers investigate controversial areas such as intelligence augmentation: in the dramatic opening sequence described above, a security officer attempts to prevent an armed break-in at one of the campus science labs. Since then, Ken has published a further 13 novels and various shorter works, and has become a major British author especially within the field of science fiction (sf), tackling important contemporary issues such as terrorism, genetic engineering and climate change. Ken’s fiction is regularly nominated for science fiction awards – he has won the British Science Fiction Award
twice, in 1999 for The Sky Road and in 2008 for The Night Sessions. His novels are renowned for their challenging engagement with political issues surrounding Socialism as well as Libertarianism, but are sure to stimulate thought in readers whatever their political views. Ken returned to Brunel in Intrusion, also short-listed for the Clarke award, where technological advances into surveillance and genetics have enabled the so-called ‘Nanny State’ to increase its influence. Ken’s experience of Brunel and of scientific research is first-hand. Beginning his studies in the late 1970s, Ken was belatedly awarded an MPhil in Biomechanics from the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1988, supervised by the “very patient and helpful” Professor Alan Yettram (then Reader in Mechanical Engineering). Ken’s thesis, entitled ‘The response of bone to mechanical stimulus’, explored the way in which “bone changes its shape and its weight both internally and externally in response to the stresses and strains upon it.”
INTERVIEW :: Student and Graduate NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 11
Google Earth.” I suspect that Ken would be struck by the way campus has been transformed since. Despite these differences, however, those familiar with the Brunel campus will recognize it in Ken’s fiction: The Star Fraction’s protagonist Moh Kohn is described as “walking towards the redbricked accommodation blocks”, or “along narrow pathways, over a little bridge.” Interestingly, this familiarity quickly becomes uncanny when one realises that the surroundings depicted, ostensibly in the future, are based upon recollections from thirty years previously. In science fiction terms, this phenomenon is known as ‘retro-futurism’.
© The Herald & Evening Times Picture Archive
With characteristic modesty, Ken explains how “my transition from researcher to writer was basically because I wasn’t a very good researcher. By the time I’d completed my MPhil I was working as a computer programmer.” While Ken hasn’t made extensive use of his research in his fiction, he gives a nod to Professor Yettram in a short story, describing “‘Yettram Coils’ embedded in spacesuits and used to electromagnetically stimulate muscles to counteract bone atrophy during weightlessness”. While he eventually chose a career as writer of science fiction rather than investigator of science fact, having direct experience of real-world scientific research and “some idea of how science and scientists work” gives Ken’s fiction an authentic feel. Ken was “particularly privileged” to be a Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh Genomics Forum during 2009. During his time as student at Brunel, Ken’s living arrangements were somewhat unconventional: then a member of the International Marxist Group (IMG), a small group at the fringes of “a large, active
labour movement in West London”, he lived alongside ten other politically engaged Brunel students and graduates, in a housing association “in the shadow of the EMI factory” in Hayes. “There were three houses that formed one household,” he explained, “sharing cooking and that kind of thing – quite practical if you’re living with ten people!” Whilst living in Hayes, Ken was visited by his old school friend Iain Banks, also a popular Scottish writer of mainstream and science fiction. “Iain wrote ‘The State of the Art’ whilst he was staying there,” Ken explains. “He would go into Brunel University to research the year 1977, the time in which that story was set.” As many readers will be aware, Iain Banks sadly died of cancer earlier this year, shortly before the release of his final novel The Quarry. During Ken’s time at Brunel, campus was very different to today. He describes it as “pretty bleak” and mostly “wind-swept concrete,” with fewer facilities and green areas. Last visiting the University in 1988 when he collected his degree certificate, Ken’s descriptions of it are drawn “from memory, and from
Intrusion takes the form of a dystopian novel. These ‘bad places’ of the future, familiar to many from literary classics such as George Orwell’s 1984 (1949) or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), and from films such as Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) – itself partly filmed on campus – often draw upon fears of a state system whose protective policies become too restrictive and slip into a hellish regime of authoritarian and totalitarian control. Ken’s novel has been legitimately compared with those of Orwell and Huxley, but – as he makes clear – while there is a clear satirical tone to his novel, he has tried to present a more balanced and optimistic portrayal of a state system than most dystopian fiction. My conversation with Ken provided fascinating insights into the career of a distinguished novelist, and into the creative process, revealing the ways in which fiction can examine the changing nature of our societies through technology and science, and also how realworld science – with its process of insight, research, development, experimentation, and publication – mirrors the development of fiction. Ken is currently Writer in Residence on the MA Creative Writing course at Edinburgh Napier University, and is revising his next novel, provisionally titled Descent. Keep up-to-date with Ken’s activities on his blog: http:// kenmacleod.blogspot.co.uk.
Student and Graduate NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 12
Graduating students: what now? For those of you who haven’t yet found a job in the field you want, graduation can be as daunting as it is exciting. But don’t panic – for up to two years after you graduate, Brunel will work with you to help you get a foot on the career ladder.
Student and Graduate NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 13
The Placement and Careers Centre (PCC) continues to actively work with alumni for up to two years after your graduation in order to give you the best chance possible of finding a great graduate job. Brunel advertised over 2,800 graduate jobs during the last year via the PCC web pages, and the team offers a range of support to help you find the right job for you and to successfully progress through the recruitment process.
Make the most of services for graduates You can still access the following services for up to two years after you graduate: • graduate vacancies from over 1,000 employers • careers advice and guidance appointments, including identifying target roles and working with you to create an action plan to get started • practical support right through the process, from CVs and applications to interviews and assessment centres • graduate events including recruitment fairs and workshops
on job-finding strategies and understanding what employers are looking for
Keep in touch: • Email email@example.com including your non-Brunel email address and you will be notified of news and events relevant to you • Like the Placement and Careers Centre page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ brunelpcc for off‑campus events • Visit the PCC on the first floor of the Bannerman Centre
Don’t miss our graduate webinars The graduate webinar series enables interactive discussion in a group format without the need to be on campus. Upcoming webinars include sessions on nailing that interview with the STAR formula for answering competency questions (25 July at 1pm), and on improving your performance in psychometric tests (1 August at 1pm). New topics are announced regularly, and
Alumnus of the Year gives back to today’s students Jordan Chitty (BSc Industrial Design, 2007) was named 2013’s Alumnus of the Year for his commitment to helping current Brunel students emulate his own career success. During his final year Jordan led the team that coordinated the Made in Brunel show, before graduating with a first class honours degree and starting his own business. Naked Creativity is a design consultancy with a fivestrong team of creative and technical individuals all passionate about web, graphic and branding design. Over the last six years, the company has gone from strength to strength with clients
including Virgin Wines and the Olympic Delivery Authority. Jordan has maintained strong links with Brunel. Since the launch of Naked Creativity, he has taken on students from Brunel for work placements, providing invaluable practical experience of working in industry. He has also gone on to employ two Brunel graduates on a permanent basis, and helped develop the Made in Brunel portfolio website. If you would like to nominate someone for 2014’s Alumnus of the Year award, firstname.lastname@example.org. email
previous sessions have included managing your social media presence to promote yourself more effectively, workplace etiquette, writing applications, cover letters and a good CV, and knowing how to sell yourself for the job you want.
Network with students and fellow alumni The Placement and Careers Centre regularly invites alumni back to campus to input into a range of workshops and events. Students and members of the PCC team met with 18 alumni this spring for a round table discussion – alumni told the story of their careers so far and students asked questions on everything from how to succeed in interviews to top tips for networking. The PCC will be organising another networking session in the autumn term. If you are an alumnus who would like to be involved in future events of this kind, please contact the team by email at careers@ brunel.ac.uk. The PCC’s website has full details of upcoming events for current students and recent graduates.
Student and Graduate NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 14
What’s your destination? Every year more Brunel graduates are successful in finding employment, further study or a combination of both. Express meets two alumni who have made a hugely successful start to their careers. Keep us posted on your career journey too!
Elizabeth Cawein “After graduating from Brunel I moved to New York City to pursue a career in magazine writing, particularly music criticism. I wrote for free for an online magazine while working several part-time jobs. I realised that New York just wasn’t where I wanted to be, and headed back south to Memphis, where I was born. I worked in social media and web development before I found the position that ultimately led me to where I am now, as Communications Co-ordinator for the non-profit Memphis Music Foundation. The job allowed me to work in the music industry and to use my undergraduate degree in journalism. There isn’t much music industry infrastructure in Memphis, and when my position was eliminated after funding cuts I knew if I
wanted a job in music I was going to have to make one up – so I did. I started Signal Flow Public Relations, a music publicity and marketing firm, with just two clients in July 2011. Now I have a roster of about 15, a mix of independent artists and music businesses or non-profits. I sort of made up my career path, to be honest – I never imagined myself an entrepreneur! My academic study of music has made me better at working with musicians because I understand what it means to write, to compose, to practise, to perform. While you may not have to be able to analyse rock’n’roll to promote or publicise it, understanding the social constructions of pop music is invaluable to understanding the music marketplace.”
Mark Dowson “When I graduated I was offered a position on Brunel’s Engineering Doctorate (EngD) programme, developing new energy saving products for buildings. It was based in industry and sponsored by Buro Happold, whose portfolio includes the London Olympic Stadium and O2 arena. I investigated the thermal efficiency of the UK’s housing stock, developing and testing new retrofit products to improve hardto-treat homes, such as those with solid brick walls with no cavity and those with single glazed windows. My main prototype was a solar-air heater retrofitted to the outside of a south facing concrete wall, providing insulation and free solar
heated warm air to a property. This ‘Aerogel Solar Collector’ won Passive Product of the Year at the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers Building Performance Awards and was installed as part of a whole house refurbishment in South London. After finishing the EngD, I was offered a full time position at Buro Happold, where I now work as an engineer in the Sustainability and Building Physics team. I am leading a number of projects, including the sustainability strategy for the University of Cambridge Arup Building refurbishment. Earlier this year I presented research into the UK housing stock and barriers for upcoming refurbishment policies to MPs at the House of Commons.”
Student and Graduate NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 15
DLHE: the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey New figures show that 91.1% of Brunel graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating Brunel is joint ninth in the UK in a table measuring the employment of its graduates against a benchmark, according to data recently published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)*. The table, published on 4 July 2013, is based on the outcomes of full-time leavers from first degree courses. Each Higher Education Institution (HEI) is given a benchmark figure by HESA based on what it thinks is an ideal percentage of leavers that should be in employment, further study or a combination of both, six months after graduating. The figure takes into account some of the factors that contribute to differences between HEIs, such as subjects of study, qualifications on entry, age on entry, region of domicile and ethnicity. Over the last three years Brunel has beaten its benchmark employment figure. For leavers graduating in 2012, the number of leavers graduating from a first degree who went on to employment, further study or a combination of both was 91.1%, beating our benchmark figure of 88.2% by 2.9%. Brunel’s position in joint ninth place is calculated when compared with all other HEIs in the United Kingdom (excluding specialist HEIs who provide vocational training) who have exceeded their benchmark figure. *Employment Indicator: leavers obtaining first degrees from full‑time courses 2011/12 (HESA).
In November, new graduates will receive an email asking them to complete the DHLE survey. What is the survey, and why should you fill it in? The DLHE survey of graduates from all universities in the UK is carried out each year on behalf of a government body – the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA). It is an official survey and universities are required to ask their graduates to take part.
employment opportunities from their course and to help Brunel shape courses to better match the employment market. It also provides us with an opportunity to make contact with our graduates and to provide advice and support to those who need it.
The survey ask graduates how their career has progressed since they left university. It is used to identify employment trends for a particular subject or mode of study, as well as to inform current students of possible
Your answers are anonymised and are not connected to you by name. If you do not complete your DLHE form online you may be contacted by phone – the caller will then take down the information required.
Student and Graduate NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 16
Made in Brunel 2013 Showcasing tomorrow’s designers and engineers Made in Brunel’s success lies in the glimpse it offers into the future of design and engineering, by showcasing the work of some of the most talented students in the UK. Express takes a look at how employers view Made in Brunel, and finds out how some of this year’s exhibitors have already reaped the benefits of the platform the show provides.
Each year the Made in Brunel (MiB) team invites representatives from a host of companies and industries to view students’ innovative work and provide networking opportunities and a real industry perspective. But for many of those invited, attending MiB is not only an altruistic evening spent encouraging the designers and engineers of the future. Instead, the students they meet are potential colleagues – recruitment, as well as outreach, is their intention. Devraj Joshi, Senior Creative Technologist at rAndom International, was at Made in Brunel with a brief to do some talent scouting. He said: “Made in Brunel’s showcase at the
Bargehouse was as impressive as ever this year. I met graduates with wide and varying skill sets and am now spoilt for choice whilst recruiting for a new team member.” Simon McNamee, Graduate Design Engineer at Dyson and a recent Brunel graduate himself, also had a recruitment agenda – after visiting the show he passed six students’ details on to the Dyson recruitment team. Simon commented: “Just 12 months ago I was exhibiting at Made in Brunel myself, and I was thrilled to get the chance to talk to a design engineer from Dyson about my major project. One year on and I find myself back at the show, but this time the roles are reversed. I’m equally excited to be talking to some of this year’s
most professional, passionate and talented design graduates about their work, and whether they could have the skills and ideas necessary to work in Research, Design and Development at Dyson. “Made in Brunel is such a unique and valuable platform for students, alumni and employers to meet, build relationships and inspire
Student and Graduate NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 17
each other. Huge congratulation to this year’s graduates, some of whom I’ll hopefully be working with soon. I’m looking forward to 2014 already.” Some exhibitors found themselves the target of a number of companies. BSc Product Design student Natalie Grange’s individual project at MiB was the Educational Furniture Toolkit, a resource to move school furniture away from ‘one size fits all’ to a more ergonomic approach, and her
group project imagined a pair of augmented reality glasses for the digital music streaming service Spotify, giving those using the service’s fitness and workout playlists the added motivation of competing with others in the same session. Natalie was approached at MiB both by a start-up company who offered her freelance opportunities and potentially a permanent role in web design, and by a small business owner who asked her to send a portfolio and CV for graphic design opportunities.
For those unconvinced by the value of networking, Made in Brunel exemplifies the advantages that an opportunity to meet specialists combined with excellent work can bring. Two further events across the School of Engineering and Design – the Brunel Digital and Brunel Engineers showcases – have expanded that principle so that even more students have the chance to show their project work to potential employers. See below to find out more.
Brunel Engineers: the Showcase 2013
Brunel Digital Degree Show 2013
In May, Brunel Engineers held their graduate showcase in the Atrium of the Michael Sterling Building, celebrating the final year project work of BEng, MEng and MSc students and offering an opportunity for networking with visitors from industry, academia and the general public.
The Michael Sterling Atrium was also the backdrop for the Brunel Digital Degree Showcase 2013, where students from the Broadcast Media and Multimedia Technology and Design programmes presented their projects to academic staff. Partners from industry including W12 Studios and Mediatonic Design were also in attendance along with other external collaborators, and, as at Made in Brunel, some used the event as an opportunity for recruiting Brunel’s talented students.
Brunel Engineers is a joint project between the departments of Electronic and Computer Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing and Enterprise Engineering, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering including Motorsport Engineering, Aerospace and Aviation Engineering. Its broad aims are to showcase Brunel engineering talent, enhance transferable skills, engage students in contemporary engineering topics, build links with industry and promote engineering to schools, colleges and the public. Director of Development Clive Gee commented: “It was fantastic to have the support of companies like O2 and Jaguar Land Rover for the inaugural Brunel Engineers show. It shows the continuing high regard in which Brunel’s graduates are held, and will, I am sure, add to the employment prospects of those who took part”.
Lecturer in Digital Design Dr Vanya Garaj highlighted the relevance of the show to industry: “Organised under the theme of ‘multi-platform’, Brunel Digital Degree Show 2013 presented a number of creative student projects that are highly relevant not only academically, but across the whole spectrum of creative and digital industries from digital design to broadcasting.”
STAFF NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 18
Interview: Brunel’s new Chancellor Brunel University’s new Chancellor Sir Richard Sykes took up his appointment on 1 May this year, following a career which has combined roles in business and in higher education at the very highest level. Express finds out about his plans for the role – and his game of pool with the UBS President! Sir Richard’s connections with Brunel go back to the earliest days of the University. “I remember Brunel as one of the new institutions that was set up during the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s white heat of technological revolution,” he says. “My sister-in-law was one of the first students to come here in around 1966.” Awarded a Brunel honorary degree in 1994, the same year he received a Knighthood from the Queen for services to the pharamaceutical industry, Sir Richard has been a regular speaker here. The request that he become Chancellor, however, came “out of the blue”. “It was a very nice thing to be asked,” he says. Whilst visiting the University in May to meet the Vice-Chancellor and Executive Board, Sir Richard dropped in on one of a series of science taster days organised by External Affairs for Year 9 pupils. He watched an interactive session using small robots which forms part
of a full-day programme promoting science and engineering activities, before touring the campus, including the Eastern Gateway and Mary Seacole buildings. Challenged to a game of pool by the outgoing UBS President Promise Phillips as part of a meet and greet session with the Student’s Union, Sir Richard obliged, defeating Promise by a considerable margin! It is clear that his experience as Rector of Imperial College has left Sir Richard with an appreciation of how competitive Higher Education has become and the impact that higher fees have had, not just on student expectations but on the importance of employability outcomes to those who do choose a university education. In these challenging circumstances, Sir Richard thinks Brunel has a great
opportunity to offer the blend of engineering, science, arts and humanities courses, with a practical flavour, that students want. “At the end of the day,” he says, “how is Brunel going to differentiate itself? It’s by turning out students who can go and do something. People will want to employ them because they have skills and the ability to do a job.” He is adamant, however, that his task is to promote the University and bring in outside contacts, and to advise and talk to people. “This is a ceremonial role. It is not hands-on. But I am looking forward to being associated with Brunel, and with people who want to drive the University forward – to make it hum. That’s really interesting and exciting.”
Sir Richard Sykes: a short biography • Studied at Kings College London • PhD in Microbial Biochemistry from University of Bristol • Knighted in 1994 for services to the pharmaceutical industry • Honorary Degree from Brunel University in 1994 • Chief Executive and Chairman of Glaxo Wellcome and Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline (1995-2001)
• Former President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science • Rector of Imperial College London (2001-2008) • Chair of NHS London (2008-2010) • Chair of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (2011-present)
STAFF NEWS :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 19
Starters and Leavers Express welcomes some new faces and says goodbye to some of our colleagues who left Brunel from February to May 2013.
Brunel students award teaching and support prizes to inspirational staff In May, Brunel students presented Student-Led Teaching Awards to staff who stand out for the excellent teaching and support they offer. The Awards, presented as part of the University’s annual Learning and Teaching Symposium, included a Lifetime Achievement accolade for Paul Turnock, Director of the University’s undergraduate Product Design courses. Known to his students as ‘PT’, Turnock received 50 nominations from students who praised his “infectious” passion for design. “For me, PT was the reason I chose Brunel over other universities,” one nomination read. “Nowhere else had anyone anywhere near as passionate about the subject and who could convey that passion to everyone listening to him.”
Now in their second year, the Student-Led Teaching Awards reward staff who excel in ten categories including ‘Innovative Teaching’, ‘Outstanding Admin and Support’ and ‘Student Teacher of the Year’. 532 student nominations were received, and winners included Professor of Contemporary Thought Will Self in the ‘Exceptional Module’ category for his unique undergraduate Psychogeography module, which explores the psychological and political relationship between the built and the natural environment. The Student-Led Teaching Awards is a national scheme founded by the National Union of Students and Higher Education Academy. This year’s awards were sponsored by Endsleigh.
Professor Thomas Betteridge Chair, Theatre • Francesca Carey Marketing Officer • Professor Asoke Nandi Chair, Electronic and Computer Engineering • Sarah Benbow Events and Administration Manager, Graduate School • Professor Vivian Ellis Professor of Education and Subject Leader • Julia Jago International Student Services Officer • Professor Rakesh Kanda Professor in Exposome Science, Institute for the Environment • Dr Nicola Rogers VC’s Executive Officer • Angela Scriven Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Health Sciences and Social Care • Dr Shashank Virmani Senior Lecturer, Mathematical Sciences
Farewell to… Dr Maurizio Borghi Senior Lecturer, Law • Professor David Bunce Professor of Psychology • Paul Doyle Director of People Services • Dr Quinton Fivelman Business Development Manager, RSDO • Dr Jason Hughes Senior Lecturer, Sociology • Katharina Stirland International Student Services Officer
New book published on academic essay writing by Alex Osmond A book on academic writing by Alex Osmond, who worked in the Library’s Academic Skills team (ASK) before managing Brunel’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) upgrade to Blackboard Learn, was published by SAGE Publications in the spring. Academic Writing and Grammar for Students is aimed at
students studying any subject at any level, and is based on Alex’s experience reading a huge number of essays while working in the ASK team as well as his previous work teaching writing skills in South Wales. The focus is exclusively on academic writing, including basic rules and conventions, common mistakes and how to fix them, good practice in
referencing, and making your writing clear and concise. Alex said: “I hope students can dip in and out of the book and learn something useful each time they do so. “Instead of treating grammar as a big, scary topic, I focus on what you need to know to write your assignments well – no more, no less.”
Research news :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 20
Study shows that smoking ban does reduce deaths from passive smoking The reduction in passive smoking resulting from the 2004 ban on smoking in public places in Ireland has caused a significant fall in deaths from heart disease, respiratory diseases and stroke, new research has found. Since March 2004, smoking in the workplace and in restaurants, bars and pubs has been banned in the Republic of Ireland – the first country in the world to implement a national workplace smoking ban. The study, carried out by Sericea Stallings-Smith and Dr Ariana Zeka of Brunel University’s Institute for the Environment alongside three Irish research institutes, found that 3,726 smoking-related deaths had been averted because of the reduction in passive smoking in the period from March 2004 to the end of 2007 alone. Previous research had shown decreases in the number of deaths and hospital admissions from heart disease, but this is the first study to examine deaths caused by stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The Brunel researchers are now planning a similar study covering the UK, to gauge the effect of the public smoking ban introduced in 2007.
Brunel awarded Sport England funding to tackle physical inactivity in London Brunel is working with local partners in health and community sport to get some of the least active people in London moving, after research revealed the huge cost of physical inactivity to the NHS. Five innovative projects which focus on engaging inactive people have been awarded a total of more than £2 million of National Lottery investment. Directed by Dr Louise Mansfield of the Brunel Centre for Sport, Health and Wellbeing, working alongside partners from the London Borough of Hounslow, the £354,000 Health and Sport Engagement (HASE) project will train coaches and health practitioners across 15 sports to develop engagement strategies. New figures reveal that the cost of inactivity to the NHS was £131 million in London and over £900 million in England as a whole in 2009/10. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality after high blood pressure, tobacco use and high blood glucose. The Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said: “If physical activity was a drug it would be regarded as a miracle. Even relatively small amounts of exercise can have huge benefits to your health and help prevent serious health conditions like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Providing opportunities for those least active to get involved in sport could make a big difference to the nation’s fitness.”
Scientists demand European action to control hormone-affecting chemical pollutants Brunel researchers were among 89 leading public health scientists from around the world who signed the 2013 Berlaymont Declaration on Endocrine Disruptors, calling for a tougher regulatory regime governing the use of chemicals in industry in the EU. The Declaration shows that the Europe-wide rate of increase in endocrine-related diseases – diseases caused by interference in human hormones, including cancer, and brain, thyroid and reproductive problems – cannot be explained by genetics or lifestyle choices. Research shows that chemicals used in thousands of products, including many plastics, flame retardants and pesticides, do affect endocrine systems, and scientists are increasingly concerned that exposure to these chemicals may be contributing to high and rising levels of serious disease. Professor Susan Jobling of Brunel’s Institute for the Environment said: “The proposals we have seen for regulating endocrine-disrupting chemicals do not follow the best available scientific advice and place commercial interests above the protection of human and wildlife health. I and my colleagues are calling for a regulatory regime that is based on sound scientific principles.”
Research news :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 21
Brunel scientists tell the story of the Higgs Boson at Royal Society Exhibition The story behind the discovery of the Higgs Boson, which is thought to explain why fundamental particles have mass, was told by a team from Brunel at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in July. Since 1995, scientists from Brunel have contributed to the search for the elusive particle, the existence of which was finally confirmed earlier this year. The Brunel team worked on the design, construction, and operation of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), one of the huge detectors at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland, and helped to analyse the vast amount of data that led to the discovery of the particle. Visitors to the Higgs Boson stand at the Royal Society Exhibition heard from the School of Engineering and Design’s Professor Peter Hobson, Dr Jo Cole, Professor Akram Khan and Dr Paul Kyberd about the importance of the Higgs Boson and how it was discovered. Professor Hobson said: “I and my colleagues are very proud to be able to bring to the general public our enthusiasm for physics and world-class engineering, and our
desire to explain one of the most significant scientific discoveries in recent years. The discovery of the Higgs Boson is our reward for the years of work that we, and our colleagues and collaborators across the world, have put into this wonderful, historic project.” The University contributed to the Electromagnetic Calorimeter, part of the CMS that detects high energy electrons and gamma rays from proton collisions. When particles interact in the Calorimeter’s lead tungstate crystals they generate a flash of light with an intensity proportional to their energy, and specialist facilities at Brunel for large-scale radiation testing of components, plus a dedicated superconducting magnet, have played a vital role in developing detectors for these flashes of light. This allows the team precisely to determine the position and energy of electrons and gamma rays. “The Royal Society Summer Exhibition gave us a great opportunity to tell people about the world class research that is going on right here in London,” said Professor Hobson.
Brunel’s Experimental Techniques Centre (ETC) has unveiled its new Transmission Electron Microscope, the only one of its kind in the UK and one of only two in the world. The £1.7m microscope measures the light given off by samples which are excited by the microscope’s electron beam, and can reveal details down to the atomic level. All researchers with a suitable project can book time to use it. Almost half of the UK’s most popular consumer websites use customer information to generate spam emails and frequently transfer personal details to third parties, even when customers expressly refuse their consent. “We were surprised to find that a large number of UK websites do not comply with EU data protection,” said Dr Maurizio Borghi, part of the research team from Brunel Law School and the University of Reading. “We don’t think they are deliberately flouting the law. It is more likely that they just don’t know what it says.” An increase in the age limit at which boys and girls can play football in the same teams from 14 to 15 has been unanimously voted in by the Football Association (FA), following a report by Brunel Sport Sciences researchers. The report, led by Dr Laura Hills, assessed the risk of injury in competitive mixed gender football for under 14 players, and found that girls were not at greater risk of injury than boys. A three-year research project entitled ‘Shaping our Age’ has found that 71% of older people feel they are rarely consulted about their well-being and the services they need. Professor Peter Beresford OBE, Director of Brunel’s Centre for Citizen Participation, part of the team which produced the report, said: “Services for older people have to shift from a paternalistic ‘doing-to’ model to an ‘involvement-led’ approach.”
© 2012 CERN, for the benefit of the CMS Collaboration
FEATURE :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 22
Behind the Scenes at…
The Governance, Information and Legal Office An institution the size of Brunel University produces a lot of information, and on a day-to-day basis this information must be generated, addressed, recorded and maintained. From the details of Freshers registering for the first time, to the activities of ViceChancellors past and present, to the ethical use of research and experimental data
and materials, all kinds of information flows in and out of the University every day. To find out why managing this information is important for practical, historical and legal reasons, Express goes behind the scenes of one of the central departments that keeps the University running the way it should – the Governance, Information and Legal Office.
GILO in figures Archive enquiries in 2012:
Freedom of Information requests in 2012:
Archive boxes at the Archive and Records Centre:
Previously known as the Office of the Secretary to Council, the Governance, Information and Legal Office (GILO) provides support to colleagues across the University on issues surrounding the supply and acquisition of information and data, and related legal matters. Its main areas of work are: the functions of the Secretary to Council and University Secretary; the Legal and Compliance Office; Archives and Records Management; and Information and Data Compliance. At the head of GILO is Jim Benson, Brunel’s Secretary to Council, whose primary responsibility is to ensure that all University activities are undertaken in accordance with the law and with University regulations. The Council is the University’s governing body, comprising staff, students, and independent members, and Jim advises its Chair on the duties and responsibilities of each member and of Council itself. It is Jim’s responsibility to ensure that the Charter and other core legal documents are correctly adhered to, and he is sole custodian of the University seal.
s s s
We meet four of the staff working with Jim to find out how the team operates.
FEATURE :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE 23
David Anderson-Ford, Director of Research Ethics and Governance David is responsible for ensuring that research at Brunel is carried out according to ethical guidelines – he describes research ethics as “independent scrutiny of what researchers intend to do where humans and animals are concerned.” His interest in the area stems from his academic background – until last year, he was Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Law and Ethics in the School of Health Sciences and Social Care. David explains: “We’re responsible for making policies and overseeing each School’s scrutiny procedures. There’s a big push towards research integrity, and what Jim and I are doing is creating a Code of Practice and then making it work. The overall aim is to be able to show the world that we do good science.” David is a Bob Dylan fan and enjoys gardening, walking and watching cricket.
Bridget Alabi, Assistant to the Secretary to the Council Bridget’s role entails “so many different things! No two days are the same, so it’s never boring! Being proactive, dynamic, efficient, professional and quick-thinking are essential attributes for my everyday work.” Bridget facilitates Council Meetings, co-ordinates elections, and is responsible for web content management for Council and its Committees as well as for the Calendar of Meetings. She also supports Committees including the Health and Safety Committee, Biological and Genetic Modification Safety Committee and Ionising Radiation and Laser Controlling Authority. She is a Designated Safeguarding Officer and is Secretary to the Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Groups Committee. Outside of work, Bridget is a practising Christian and is involved in Church activities, with two “demanding” teenagers!
Mandy Mordue, Head of Archives and Records Management Mandy and her team are based at The Old School House on Hillingdon Road. The building is a treasure trove of thousands of files, letters, photographs, paintings and books relating to the University’s origins, buildings, students and staff. “I take responsibility for developing policy and strategy for how we should look after the archives and records,” says Mandy. “Recently I’ve been pushing the University to address digitisation, both from a preservation point of view but also to make the archives more accessible. It’s good to open up the University’s history – we have an interesting heritage and you’d be surprised at the variety and depth of the archives. “There’s always new material coming in to the archives – we love to accept new items. The most challenging thing is trying to fit everything in!” Mandy works part-time at Brunel and full-time as a mum to two young daughters.
Mary Liddell, Information Access Officer All employees of the University should have data protection training once every two years, and Mary give regularly scheduled sessions as well as special sessions for Schools and Departments. “There’s no black and white in data protection – it’s all shades of grey!” says Mary. “Some people are fairly clued in, but I’d like to see more academics attending training sessions.” Mary also handles Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. “The most challenging part is trying to find out who has the information needed, and getting them to give it to me! We get about 150 requests each year, and I have 20 working days to comply with each one. People don’t always like being told that they have to give me this information, even though FOI legislation has been in effect since 2005!” Outside work Mary loves cooking and reading, and is a fan of science fiction, mysteries and Doctor Who.
In Pictures :: EXPRESS MAGAZINE
1 Paralympic Champion
2012 Dressage gold medallist and Uxbridge resident Natasha Baker receives an Honorary Fellowship in July’s graduation ceremonies
2 King of the pond
Brunel’s resident heron made regular appearances on the Wilfred Brown Building pond as the weather warmed up in July
3 Photographing Everyday Life
A special one-day photo exhibition in June presented the findings of an innovative research project capturing the rhythms, patterns and meanings of everyday life
See your photos here! Want to see your images published in Express? Submit your best pictures of anything Brunel and you could see them in the Express gallery. Email your high resolution photos (ideally 1MB+) to email@example.com or submit them on Brunel’s Flickr or Facebook pages. 7789 0713
Published on Jul 25, 2013
Issue 19 of Express, the Brunel staff and student community magazine. Highlights include: Back to the future: interview with award-winning a...