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Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation, Newcastle University

Professor Mark Reed has been appointed Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation at Newcastle University, as part of the N8 AgriFood Resilience Programme.  He joins Newcastle from Birmingham City University, where he held the position of Professor of Interdisciplinary Environmental Research.

The AgriFood Resilience Programme is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England catalyst fund and by the N8 universities - the eight key research universities across the North of England.  Professor Reed is now also a Chair within the Programme.

Professor Reed said:

"Feeding a growing population in an era of environmental change is a huge task for the people that manage our land, both here in the UK and across the globe.  Technical innovation is one vital element - but how we use that innovation is also key in ensuring we can produce the food we need in a way that maintains resilience across the whole range of functions we take from our landscapes including clean water, flood control, carbon storage, biodiversity and the green spaces that are essential for human physical and mental health".

Professor Reed is already developing a programme of research on climate change with colleragues at the N8 AgriFood team at Leeds and builds on existing research collaborartions in seven out of the eight N8 universities.  His research focuses particularly on sustainable food production and resilient chains. 


Director of the Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews

Professor Vincent Janik has been appointed Director of the Scottish Oceans Institute.  He will take over from Professor Ian Johnston as of 1 January 2016 for an initial period of three years. 

Vincent works in the field of animal communication, specializing in marine mammals.  His main research interest is the evolution of complexity in communication systems and how this complexity can affect social interaction.  This work takes two different approaches.  He investigates environmental constraints that influence the design of vocal communication systems and the underlying cognitive skills required to overcome or circumvent such constraints.  Much of this work concentrates on vocal communication in the bottle nose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus).  This species combines the ability of vocal learning with complex cognitive skills that exceed those of most other animals. Comparative work focuses on grey and harbour seals as well as other dolphin species.

Vincent is a member of the University's Sea Mammal Research Unit and of the Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution.


William Robertson Chair of History, The University of Edinburgh

The School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Diana Paton to the William Robertson Chair of History.

Diana Paton has taught at Newcastle University since 2000, where she has been a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and, since 2008, Reader in Caribbean History.  She is a historian of the Caribbean and has published extensively on slavery and emancipation and Caribbean cultural history.

On accepting the appointment, Dr Paton said: 'I am excited to join Edinburgh's History department, particularly because of its emphasis on global history.  As a historian of the Caribbean it will be great to work with colleagues with such a wide range of geographic and chronological interests.  I am looking forward particularly to collaborating with colleagues and students in the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies.'

The William Robertson Chair was established in 1966, and named in commemoration of the renowned Scottish Historian and former Principal of the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Thomas Ahnert, Head of History, commented: 'We are delighted to welcome Diana Paton as the new holder of the William Robertson Chair. Her expertise in global and transnational history will be a major addition to our existing strengths in these areas.  We are very much looking forward to working with her in furher enhancing our teaching and research.'

Professor Paton will take up her post in July 2016.