University of Leicester launches 'competition' to find 10 future world class research leaders

Posted by pt91 at May 12, 2011 09:54 AM |
Multi-million pound investment signals University’s commitment to top research as well as strong teaching

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 12 May 2011

The University of Leicester plans to establish up to ten new professorial research chairs in a multi-million pound investment by the University in its research future.

Successful applicants for the posts, starting from January next year, will each be supported to establish world-class research centres in their specialist fields.

It is part of an overarching strategy to further develop research innovation and capacity and to help put Leicester, currently ranked among the top 12 universities in the UK, in a strong position to contend for a place in the top ten by 2015.

Despite the difficult economic climate, the University, which prides itself on being both high quality and inclusive – “elite without being elitist”– has decided to send a clear message that it remains committed to investing in top research, as well as strong teaching.

Chairs will be expected to provide a “business plan” for their proposed research activity, explaining how their work will benefit the institution, attract grants and develop a world class reputation for excellence.

Applications are being invited from leading scholars across all disciplines under eight broad themes that build upon the University’s existing research strengths: evolving landscapes; connected communities; emerging technologies; sustainable and translational medicine supporting healthcare; digital economy; science and society; biodiversity, sustainability and food security; energy and resources for sustainable societies.

The aim is to develop world class, multi-disciplinary expertise in areas in which Leicester already has specialist knowledge. It hopes to attract high profile research fellows and postgraduate students as well as promote collaborations within the university and with partners from industry, commerce and overseas.

Professor Kevin Schürer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, said: “Because of student fees, an awful lot of attention over the past few months has been on teaching. This has been for all the right reasons, but what we mustn’t forget is that research is a critical part of what universities like Leicester do and that it underpins and informs the teaching that we provide.

He added: “You cannot create internationally recognised research centres without the necessary support and investment. With this investment we are taking a proactive approach to stimulate research ideas and collaboration.”

Professor Sir Robert Burgess, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “Successful applicants will have a huge opportunity to develop a research programme, to solve problems that they themselves set, to move into unchartered territory, and to make links between different subject areas.”

“We are not only going to be developing new work, we are also going to be developing new workers, and that is always exciting.”

You can learn more about the Professorial Research Chairs development at Leicester from  Professor Sir Robert Burgess here:


- The University of Leicester was described as elite without being elitist by Times Higher Education when it received the title University of the Year 2008/09 in the THE awards.

- The latest QS world University Rankings ranked its research impact sixth highest in the UK.

- In January, the University announced a £5 million investment in research studentships

For more information, please contact:

Ather Mirza
Press Office
Division of Corporate Affairs and Planning
University of Leicester
tel: 0116 252 3335
Twitter: @UniofLeicsNews

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