Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Appointments: People

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Appointments: People

Article excerpt

University of Cambridge

David MacKay

David MacKay, who has recently been appointed the Regius professor in engineering at the University of Cambridge, said that despite a brief phase when he had other ideas, he always knew his career was destined to be in academia. "I grew up in an academic family," he said. "When I was about 11, I thought I wanted to be an architect, but by the time I was heading towards O levels, I knew I enjoyed science and problem-solving." Professor MacKay is the chief scientific adviser to the government's Department of Energy and Climate Change and will continue in that role four days a week. "The notion of being a senior civil servant never crossed my mind and I'm still quite surprised to find myself sitting where I am today, but I'm having a great time," he added. He said he had four areas he wanted to explore as Regius professor: working on whole energy system modelling; bioengineering activity - making systems more efficient and ecological; using kite power to extract wind energy; and designing reusable components for different industries. Professor MacKay studied at Cambridge as an undergraduate and obtained his PhD from the California Institute of Technology before returning to Cambridge in 1992. He has since held various academic positions at the university.

City University London

Roger Crouch

The new conjoint dean of the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and the School of Informatics at City University London said he wanted to see more crossover between the disciplines. Roger Crouch, who oversaw the joining of the School of Engineering and the department of computer sciences at Durham University, said he saw many interdisciplinary opportunities. "Computer science has become a cornerstone of much of what we do in science, and maths underpins everything, so for me it's very natural the three should come together," he said. Professor Crouch said one challenge facing computer science was to encourage more of it in schools where children now "do little or no coding". "I think we haven't ever caught up and helped schoolteachers. Often IT was seen as the subject that you got the short straw to teach. There's a misconception that one might have been pigeon-holed as geeky or a bit dull to study computer science when in fact it's a rich and challenging area." Professor Crouch studied at Imperial College London and the University of Manchester and held positions at the ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland and the University of Sheffield besides Durham.

Writtle College

Stephen Waite

"I would say I wasn't your typical university attendee," said Stephen Waite, the new principal of Writtle College. "I'm an ex-secondary modern student who went to a technical college originally to do an ordinary national diploma in science, but studied A levels because the programme had closed. That's how it started." Dr Waite, who took over his role at the beginning of April, said it was a combination of his interest in life science and middle-distance running that encouraged him to attend university. "I chose the University of Sussex (because) I had heard that David Bedford (a former 10,000m world-record holder) had been there at some point. That turned out not to be true!" He said that what attracted him particularly to Writtle - which specialises in land-based subjects such as agriculture - was the staff and students' "pride to be involved with the institution". …

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