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Spotlight on Success: January 2021

Spotlight on success

Each month we publish a selection of key Teaching & Learning and Research achievements and developments. See December and January's news below.

Awards & Prizes

  • Professor Matthew Owens (Meteorology) has been awarded funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council for the Reading Solar System Science 2020 project.
  • Professor Nicholas Branch (Geography and Environmental Science) has been awarded funding for Arts and Humanities Research Council Development project on challenges and opportunities for agro-ecosystems and rural farming communities in the Peruvian Andes.
  • Dr Eva Kevei (Biomedical Sciences) has received funding from Parkinson's UK for work on In vivo modelling of oligogenic inheritance in Parkinson's disease: ‘Targeting the lysosome to prevent dopaminergic neurodegeneration'.
  • Professor Jane Setter (Modern Languages and Linguistics) has received funding from the College of Professional and Continuing Education Research Fund (Hong Kong) to conduct a research project jointly with a colleague from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Pronunciation E-resources: ‘The effectives of pedagogical approaches on the improvement of local post-secondary students' English intelligibility'.
  • Professor Parvaneh Tavakoli (Modern Languages and Linguistics) has been awarded a research grant from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Research Programme. TOEFL is one of the major international English proficiency exams taken yearly by some 3 million people all over the world. Together with partners from Higher Education in Mexico, Parvaneh will be working on adapting the test for Mexican Universities.
  • Dr Laia Comas Bru (Geography and Environmental Science) has been jointly awarded the 2020 International Data Prize by the World Climate Research Programme/Global Climate Observing System. The Speleothem Isotopes Synthesis and AnaLysis (SISAL) database, which was the basis of the award, is hosted at the University.
  • Professor Simon Potts (School of Agriculture, Policy and Development) was awarded a Horizon 2020 grant under their climate call, entitled ‘Addressing wild pollinators decline and its effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services'.
  • Professor Simon Potts (Sustainable Land Management) and Professor Tom Oliver (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) have been granted Natural Environment Research Council funding for Drivers and Repercussions of UK Insect Declines (DRUID).
  • Dr Nikos Katzourakis (Mathematics and Statistics) has been granted funding by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for work on Generalised and Low-Regularity Solutions of Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations.
  • Professor Jonathan Gibbins (Biomedical Sciences) has been awarded funding from the Royal Society Development of innovative computational techniques to understand cross-talk and regulation in the control of platelet function.
  • Dr Andrea Miglionico (Law) has been awarded Economic and Social Research Council funding via Loughborough Technology Driven Change and Next Generation Insurance Value Chains (TECHNGI).
  • Colleagues in Meteorology along with the National Centre for Atmospheric Science and the Institute for Environmental Analytics have been awarded funding from the Natural Environment Research Council as part of the Climate and Environmental Risk Analytics for Resilient Finance (CERAF) project.
  • Professor Flora Samuel (Architecture) led project, Mapping Eco Social Assets, won the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President's Awards for Research 2020 in the Cities and Community category.
  • Professor Pier Luigi Vidale (Meteorology) has been awarded Horizon 2020 funding for the project Next Generation Earth Modelling Systems (NextGEMS).
  • Professor Ted Shepherd (Meteorology) has been awarded Horizon 2020 funding for the project Extreme Events: Artificial Intelligence for Detection and Attribution (XAIDA).
  • Dr Robin Smith (Meteorology) has been awarded Horizon 2020 funding for the project Earth system models for the future (ESM2025).
  • Professor Simon Potts (Agriculture, Policy and Development) has been awarded Horizon 2020 funding for the project Safeguarding European wild pollinators (Safeguard).


Project updates

  • A new research centre for evidence in agricultural innovation being led by Dr David Rose (Applied Economics & Marketing) has been launched. It is funded primarily through a charity grant and the five universities participating, including Harper Adams and Royal Agricultural University.
  • Professor Emily West (History) curated the digital exhibition Hidden Voices with the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative (LDHI) based at the College of Charleston. This originated from work with a former student for a funded UROP (University Research Opportunities Programme) project.
  • Professor Carol Wagstaff (Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy) is leading a new project that is putting forgotten voices back at the heart of food policy changes.



  • Professor Ed Hawkins and the University of Reading have produced a ‘Stars and Climate Stripes' graphic, combining the iconic climate stripes and the US national flag to celebrate the US re-joining the Paris Agreement. President Biden has fulfilled his promise to begin the process of re-signing the accord to renew the US' climate change responsibilities, and this is expected to be confirmed around 19 February. Shareable graphic will be launched ahead of 19 Feb and is intended to welcome the US back, as well as raise profile of the stripes and the University of Reading in the States. See our news story for more information.
  • Dr Alanna Cant (Archaeology) has developed Story Maps to offer virtual fieldtrips and learning experiences. This example shows prospective students not just how 'blended teaching' is currently working but also provides a flavour of the module, on 'The Anthropology of Heritage and Cultural property'.
  • BA Primary Education art specialist graduate has been selected amongst thousands as one of the winners for ‘The Next Big Thing' - a high profile national art competition.
  • To mark its 70th year, The Museum of English Rural Life, (The MERL) is launching the exciting collaborative ‘51 Voices' project celebrating its collections.
  • The Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH) held its annual forum online on 15 December focusing on Addressing food system challenges: Making inter-disciplinarity work. The virtual meeting attracted nearly 250 registrants, with over 150 of those external to Reading and featured presentations from some of our external partners.
  • Dr Yasmine Shamma (English Literature) and Dr Vaibhav Singh (Typography) presented their research at events for the British Academy Being Human Festival: Making a Home away from Home and The art of typewriting: music, drawing, and writing machines.
  • Research Enterprise Services (RES) has produced three short videos, covering an introduction to the Research Professional tool, how to search for research grant funding opportunities and how to access news content. More information is available on the RES webpages.
  • Professors Grace James (Law) and Simon Chandler-Wilde (Mathematics and Statistics) have been appointed to Research Excellence (REF) sub-panels in Assessor roles. They join other colleagues that will assess submissions to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.
  • Professor Hannah Cloke (Geography and Environmental Science) has been appointed to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
  • Professor Emma Borg (Philosophy) has been appointed as an Independent Advisor to the new HMRC Professional Standards Committee.

Click here to see all recent University of Reading research publications

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