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Director of the Institute for Sustainability, University of Surrey

Former Italian Minister of State for Education, University and Research and political economist Professor Lorenzo Fioramonti has been named the founding Director of the University of Surrey's Institute for Sustainability.

The appointment was made following an extensive international recruitment process. Professor Fioramonti will now be tasked with maximising the positive impact of Surrey's sustainability-focused research and innovation, helping people to enjoy happy and fulfilling lives that do not further damage the health of the planet.

Professor Max Lu, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, said of the appointment:

"After a thorough and highly competitive recruitment process, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Lorenzo Fioramonti as our first-ever Director of the Surrey Institute for Sustainability.

“Surrey is already home to highly creative and visionary research in the fields of clean air, net zero energy, veterinary health and economics. With the help of Professor Fioramonti, we will knit this work together and help shape a future in which we all live fulfilling and healthy lives within the limits of the planet.

The Surrey Institute for Sustainability will officially launch later this year. It will allow the University of Surrey to be a critical player as the world transitions to sustainable living through interdisciplinary research and innovation in partnership with national and international organisations, education and civic engagement.

Professor Tim Dunne, Provost and Senior Vice-President of the University of Surrey, said:

“We are very excited to welcome Professor Fioramonti to the University of Surrey. He brings extensive teaching and research coordination experience and a real passion for sustainability. He has much to offer the Surrey community.”

Professor Fioramonti said of his appointment at the University of Surrey:

“We must use our best expertise and passion to build a more sustainable and just society. It is the imperative of our generation. The Surrey Institute for Sustainability will be at the forefront of this endeavour bringing together all scientific disciplines, from the natural to the social sciences, developing technologies for sustainable prosperity and wellbeing, and working closely with innovators, policy makers and business leaders both in the Global North and the Global South.”

Professor Fioramonti will join the University of Surrey in the Autumn. He is currently a Professor of Political Economy and Director of the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, University of Pretoria in South Africa, and co-leader of the Future Africa initiative, a transdisciplinary campus focusing on sustainability transformations in the Global South.

The current director of Future Africa, a pan-African, transdisciplinary platform at the University of Pretoria, and former CEO of the International Science Council, Dr Heide Hackmann, added:

“Professor Fioramonti will bring to Surrey’s new Institute for Sustainability the transdisciplinary vision, expertise and experience required to ensure that research, scholarship and innovation truly serves the global public good. We at Future Africa look forward to the opportunity to continue working with him in his new, important role.”

Professor of Finance and Accounting, University of Surrey

Professor Jonathan Williams joined the University of Surrey in June 2022 as Professor of Finance and Accounting. A banking and finance specialist, he is also Visiting Professor at the University of Turin, the University of Malta, and Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics. Professor Williams is the Chair of the European Association of Teachers of Banking and Finance (The Wolpertinger Group), Treasurer of the Financial Markets and Institutions Special Interest Group of BAFA (British Accounting and Finance Association), and a member of the Chartered Banker Institute’s Quality and Standards Committee.

Professor Williams has published in leading international journals including the Journal of Corporate Finance, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Financial Stability, and Regional Studies amongst others. He has presented his research at institutions including The World Bank and Deutsche Bundesbank and at conferences and universities in countries across the world. His current research interests include executive compensation and corporate governance, financial deregulation and competitiveness, and FinTech.

Professor of Sustainable Food Systems, University of Surrey

Professor Roberta Sonnino has been appointed Professor of Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Surrey.  She joins Surrey from Cardiff University, where she was the Director of the Research Centre for Urban and Regional Food Systems (SURF) and Professor of Environmental Policy and Planning at the School of Geography and Planning.

The appointment is being made as part of the University’s creation of a cross-institution, multi-disciplinary Institute for Sustainability.

Professor Sonnino's research focuses on sustainable food systems, with a particular focus on governance.  She has published in a range of international journals from different disciplines, including geography, planning, sociology, anthropology, environmental studies, food science and technology and public health.

Working across the science-policy interface, in her career she has acted as an advisor to many different bodies and organisations, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Commission.