Explore our projects

Head of the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Newcastle University

Professor Robert Edwards joins Newcastle having held a joint position as Chief Scientist at the UK's Food and Environment Research Agency and the Chair in Crop Protection at the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products at the University of York.  His research focuses on finding new ways to increase crop tolerance and yield by applying the principles of chemical biology to control plant systems.  In setting up a new research programme at Newcastle, he is the lead investigator in a new £3 million BBSRC-HGCA funded research project investigating ways to counteract herbicide resistance in black grass, a weed which is responsible for major crop losses in the UK.

Robert will officially take over the role of Head of the School of AFRD at the end of March, replacing Professor Alan Younger who retired last year. 

Speaking about his appointment, Robert said: "The current concerns over global food security have revitalised interest in agriculture and the science that underpins sustainable productivity in both arable and livestock based farming.  In addition there is an increasing awareness of the link between food quality, nutrition and health and the dependence of resilient supply chains on a vibrant and entrepreneurial industrial sector.

"Founded on a long and proud tradition Newcastle's School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development is uniquely placed to integrate basic and applied scientific and socioeconomic research across these sectors to provide solutions of both national and international significance."


Head of the School of Marine Science and Technology, Newcastle University

Professor Andrew Willmott will take up his post at Newcastle on 1 July, leaving Keele University where he holds a chair in Marine and Climate Sciences.  Prior to joining Keele in August 2013 Andrew was the Director of the Natural Environment Research Council's (NERC's) Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and the inaugural Director of Science and Technology of NERC's National Oceanography Centre (NOC) which was established in 2010  In the latter role he was overseeing around 180 staff and a budget of circa £20 million.

He has held several honorary/visiting posts aroud the world - including the University of New South Wales, Monash University, McGill University, and the Institute of Ocean Sciences in Canada.  Andrew is panel member for the Hefce REF 14 exercise and served as a special advisor for the last RAE exercise.

With a background in applied mathematics, his research interests cover a wide range of ocean dynamics and sea ice processes, and he is currently conducting research with colleagues at NOC into how the rapid warming of the Arctic will impact on the circulation of this basin and the wider global climate.

Speaking about his appointment, Andrew said: "Newcastle University has a long and proud tradition of conducting high-quality research and teaching in marine science and technology and I am extremely honoured to be appointed as Head of the School of MaST.

"Marine science and technology has truly come of age with numerous exciting research opportunities in these fields that address problems of major societal relevance such as energy, mineral and food security, mitigating and adapting to climate change, and the development of marine industries in the areas of robotics, sensors and fuel efficient ship design.

"Over the next few years MaST at Newcastle is well placed to not only participate in these major research problems but to also help set the future research agenda.  I look forward to working with colleagues at Newcastle to build upon the considerable reputation that the School enjoys in research and teaching with a view to propelling it into the group of top-ten European schools of this type."


Chair in Leadership Development, The University of Edinburgh

Professor Susan Elaine Murphy has been appointed Chair in Leadership Development at the University of Edinburgh. Susan was formerly Director of the School of Strategic Leadership Studies at James Madison University and Professor of Leadership Studies. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on leadership, leadership development, and mentoring. Her work has been published in Academy of Management Executive (currently Academy of Management Perspectives), The Leadership Quarterly, Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Making, Journal of Vocational Behaviour, Journal of Business and Psychology, and the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Her most recent work includes an edited volume with Rebecca Reichard, Early Development and Leadership: Building the Next Generation of Leaders and an authored book, Power Mentoring: How Successful Mentors and Protégés Make the Most of Their Relationships (with Ellen Ensher). She also serves on the editorial board of The Leadership Quarterly. Her current research examines leadership requirements, effectiveness, and development across different contexts and organisational levels.