Leading scientist appointed head of research at Durham University
(22 September 2008)
An internationally renowned scientist has been appointed to continue building Durham’s reputation as a leading research centre.
Professor Tom McLeish will take up his new role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Durham University on October 1. Professor McLeish, currently Professor of Polymer Physics at the University of Leeds, will have responsibility for all aspects of academic research at Durham. He will have specific responsibility for the University’s interdisciplinary research institutes. Professor McLeish will also play a key role in enhancing the University’s research and on working with the UK’s research councils, Government and the North East region. Durham is a leading research university with a reputation for excellence in science, social science and arts and humanities. Many of Durham’s departments are ranked among the best in the country for research. The University was recently praised for its world class research in being ranked eighth in The Sunday Times University Guide. Durham has a large focus on interdisciplinary research through its many institutes including the Internationally-renowned Institute of Advanced Study, the Institute of Hazard and Risk Research and the Wolfson Institute based at Queen’s Campus in Stockton. Professor McLeish said: “Durham is a vibrant, scholarly and imaginative community and I am looking forward to getting to know people and their research in detail. “I am especially impressed with the way the University combines top quality research while experimenting with ways of sharing expertise across a range of academic disciplines. “I am a great believer in encouraging new research that becomes possible only when people from different academic disciplines come together and I know Durham will be a uniquely fertile environment for such creative working.” Professor McLeish, who is also Director of the UK Polymer IRC consortium of more than 100 polymer scientists in universities and industry, said he was excited by his new appointment. He added: “I have worked with colleagues from Durham in the past and often wondered what it would be like to work here myself. “Quite frankly I have fallen in love with the place and I look forward to joining a really wonderful University.” Professor McLeish succeeds Professor James Stirling, who has been appointed Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University. Durham University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chris Higgins, said: “Research excellence at Durham is extremely strong and many of our departments are ranked among the best in the UK if not the world. “Tom’s appointment will allow us to build on the excellent work already carried out by James Stirling so we can ensure that Durham continues to enhance its international reputation as a centre for world-class research in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities.”