Two new appointments: Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Docent at Åbo Akademi University

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) brings together distinguished individuals from the arts, business, science and technology and academia worlds to advance learning and knowledge in Scottish public life. The breadth of the Fellowship – which includes over 1600 individuals from the UK and abroad – enables the RSE to provide a wide range of leadership and expertise.

Each year the RSE undertakes a rigorous five-stage nomination and election process to appoint around 60 new Fellows. I was delighted to learn last week that I am one of those elected in 2017. Also elected in 2017 are Val McDermid, James Naughtie, Professor Iain Stewart and Kirsty Wark. HRH The Duke of Cambridge also joins the cohort as a Royal Honorary Fellow.

However, I was most thrilled to see one of my oldest friends named in the press release issued by the RSE on 15th February. Professor William Rampen, or Win (as he is more usually known) is Chairman and Founder of Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd and holds a Chair in Energy Storage in the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. I first met Win in 1984 when we were both students at the Université de Nantes. While Win was studying engineering in Nantes, I was there to undertake the third year of my French degree from the University of Birmingham. If anyone had told us at the time that we would both be elected Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh thirty-two years later in 2017, we would have struggled to take this prediction seriously!

There is further information about my Fellowship in the Edinburgh Napier University news item ‘RSE Fellowship for award-winning academic‘.

Åbo Akademi University logoAlso last week I learnt that I have been appointed Docent in Information Studies within the Faculty of Social Sciences, Business and Economics, Åbo Akademi, Finland.

Finnish legislation allows universities to award the title of docent to ‘a person who has comprehensive knowledge of his/her own field, a capacity for independent research or artistic work demonstrated through publication or some other manner, and good teaching skills’ (Universities Act, § 89). The scientific competence for a docent is considered to be double that demonstrated in the award of a doctorate, and this is externally assessed by two international experts in the field.

This appointment formalises my long-term relationship with staff in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Business and Economics, Åbo Akademi, particularly Professor Gunilla Widén, with whom I have collaborated on a number of projects since we first met earlier in our careers as doctoral students. I am looking forward to strengthening further the links between Gunilla’s research group at Åbo Akademi and mine at Edinburgh Napier University.

Inclusivity in the delivery of teaching: from agendas to actions #TFConf17


The theme of Edinburgh Napier University’s 2017 Teaching Fellows Conference, (#TFConf17) is innovations in teaching and supporting student learning. I am participating in the event today as the opening keynote speaker.  My presentation slides entitled Inclusivity in the delivery of teaching: from agendas to actions are available on SlideShare and below. Continue reading

What does it mean to be a dangerous woman? The case of the young widow

IASH logoOver the past ten months or so I have followed with interest the Dangerous Women Project. This is one-year initiative of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, led by Professor Jo Shaw. It was launched on International Women’s Day 2016 and will end on International Women’s Day 2017 on Wednesday 8th March with a closing event (free, ticketed) at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Continue reading

Applications invited for ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership studentship competition 2017

Esrc_logoThe Science, Technology, Innovation, Information and Communication Studies pathway of the ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (SGSSS-DTP) is currently inviting applications for this year’s studentship competition.

Academic staff at each of the pathway member institutions – including those within my group at Edinburgh Napier University – would be pleased to hear from eligible candidates who would like to apply for a PhD place under this scheme. Continue reading

How long does it take to write a PhD thesis?

Bold resolutions PhD comic

Bold resolutions: “Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham

As a PhD supervisor I have often been asked ‘How long do you think it will take me to write up my thesis?’ My answer always begins ‘It depends…’ We then continue the conversation with an audit of material already drafted that may contribute (in edited format) to the final thesis. These include the initial literature review from the first year transfer report, and posters, conference papers and journal articles presented and/or published from the on-going work. Continue reading

Florian Cech of the Vienna University of Technology visits the Centre for Social Informatics

TU Wien logoStaff within the Faculty of Informatics at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria plan to establish a Centre for Informatics and Society (CIS) as part of the University’s Institute of Design and Assessment of Technology. They are currently engaged in identifying the scope and potential activities of this new unit. The early part of the work has focused on auditing the field and collecting information about other research institutions with a similar remit to that of the proposed Centre. Continue reading