Meet the Team
Professor Taylor is the current Chair of GW4 Board. He was appointed as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise in July 2020 and is responsible for shaping Bristol’s research and enterprise activity; ensuring it meets the University’s strategic ambition to be a world-leading research-intensive university making a positive contribution to the key global challenges facing society. He is also responsible for engaging with a wide range of organisations – from funders to corporates and charities – regionally, nationally and internationally, and enhancing an already high-performing research environment at Bristol. Professor Taylor leads the EPSRC Supergen Energy Networks Hub, which brings together industrial and academic partners (including five UK universities) with other energy network stakeholders to gain a deeper understanding of the interactions and interdependencies of energy networks, and researches the challenges of technology, policy, data, markets and risk for energy networks. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the national fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA), and during 2022, was appointed by Sir Patrick Vallance to the Government’s Net Zero Innovation Board.
Professor Michele Barbour is Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor Enterprise and Innovation at the University of Bristol. Hers is a strategic leadership role with the remit to grow, enhance and promote the University’s enterprise and innovation activities across all disciplines, particularly in relation to research commercialisation and industry partnerships. She is also Professor of Biomaterials in the Faculty of Health Sciences where she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students, and is a PI and research group lead. She founded a spin-out company, Pertinax Pharma Ltd, in 2015, and in this has experience of fund raising from VC, Angels, charities and UK and EU public funding bodies.
Professor Julie Barnett is Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) at the University of Bath and a social scientist based in the Department for Psychology. She did her PhD at the University of Surrey and held research positions at the University of Surrey and Brunel University before moving to the University of Bath in 2013. She is an active researcher with particular interests and expertise around risk perception and communication. She was Associate Dean (Research) for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science before taking up her present role, which has particular responsibilities for research culture and research governance, in 2022.
Stuart Brocklehurst is Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Business Engagement and Innovation, leading the University of Exeter’s collaboration with business and its drive to deliver innovation through research and education. Stuart is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute, a Chartered IT Professional, a Chartered Manager, a Freeman of the City of London, and holds a degree in theology from Oxford. He has served on numerous company boards, on the synod and Bishop’s Council of the Diocese of Exeter, as a Governor of Petroc College in North Devon and as a Leadership Fellow of Exeter Business School. He is a Director of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and of the Great South West Pan Regional Partnership, Chair of the region’s Innovation Board and Chair of the Exeter Science Centre Advisory Board.
Professor Neil Gow is Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact and Professor of Microbiology at the University of Exeter. Professor Gow was appointed in September 2018. He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh where he obtained his Bachelors degree in Microbiology and went on to receive his PhD in 1982 from the University of Aberdeen. Following this, Professor Gow undertook a period of postdoctoral research at the National Jewish Hospital for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine and University of Colorado, Denver, USA. He was appointed as a Lecturer to the University of Aberdeen and “received” a personal Chair in 1995. At the University of Aberdeen Professor Gow held various senior positions including Head of Microbiology Research Programme, 2002-2011, Director of Research and Commercialisation, College of Life Sciences and Medicine, 2011 – 2015 and Co-Director, MRC Centre for Medical Mycology, 2017-2018.
Professor Hainsworth OBE was appointed as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Bath in December 2021. Prior to this she was a Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean at Aston University leading the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences and before that she was Graduate Dean and Head of the Department of Engineering at the University of Leicester. From 2019-2022 she was Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Diversity and Inclusion committee. Sarah is a Professor of Materials and Forensic Engineering and has worked with a wide range of Industry on automotive tribology including Jaguar and Mercedes Benz High Performance Engines and with the energy sector on materials for power plant including GE. She has acted as a forensic science expert on stabbing, tool marks in dismemberment, and knife sharpness, providing reports to police forces across the UK. In 2013, whilst at the University of Leicester, her expertise helped establish the manner of King Richard III’s death at the Battle of Bosworth through analysing wound marks found on his skeleton.
Professor Jonathan Knight is Vice-President (Enterprise) at the University of Bath, where he is also an active researcher in photonics within the Department of Physics. He did his PhD at Cape Town, and held postdoctoral positions at the École Normale Supérieure (Paris) and Southampton before moving to Bath in 1996. He is a frequent invited speaker at conferences, has published over 250 papers, and has an established track record of translating academic research into commercial value. From 2015, Jonathan was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research). He was appointed Vice-President (Enterprise) in 2021.
Marcus Munafò is Professor of Biological Psychology and MRC Investigator at the University of Bristol. He took up his post as Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Research Culture in February 2022. Marcus completed his PhD at the University of Southampton, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford and the University of Pennsylvania before joining the University of Bristol. His primary research interests are in the impacts of health behaviours such as smoking and drinking on physical and mental health outcomes. He also co-founded the UK Reproducibility Network.
Professor Martin Siegert FRSE is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Cornwall) at the University of Exeter. He oversees Exeter’s diverse academic community on its 100-acre Penryn campus, near Falmouth, which is home to science, engineering, arts, humanities and business students, as well as the renowned Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI). He will also have oversight of the institution’s Truro campus, at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, the location for its European Centre for Environment and Human Health.
Professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen is University Dean of Research Environment and Culture at Cardiff University. In that role, she works on initiatives to develop a more inclusive, collaborative, and creative research environment for staff across the institution. She is also a Professor in the School of Journalism, Media and Culture, where she served as Director of Research Development and Environment between 2012 and 2020. Her research focuses on journalism and citizenship, and she has authored or edited ten books, 80 journal articles and more than 45 book chapters.
Professor Damian Walford Davies is Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University, a role he took on in August 2021. He was previously Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (2018—21) and Head of the School of English, Communication and Philosophy (2014—18) at Cardiff University. From 2012 to 2018 he was Chair of Literature Wales – one of Wales’s National Companies – and from 2015 to 2018 Chair of Cardiff University Press. The main fields of his research are Romanticism, literary geography, Welsh Writing in English, twentieth-century poetry, and Creative Writing. Recent publications include the co-edited collection Romantic Cartographies (Cambridge University Press, 2020), the edited collection Counterfactual Romanticism (Manchester University Press, 2019), and the poetry collection Docklands (Seren, 2019). He is a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.
Professor Whitaker took on the post of Pro-Vice Chancellor Research, Innovation & Enterprise as of summer 2022. Prior to this he was Professor of Collective Intelligence at the Cardiff University School of Computer Science and Informatics. His research addresses the intersection of human and machine intelligence, involving interdisciplinary collaboration with psychologists, biologists, sociologists, and engineers to create new capabilities and understanding through computation. This is exemplified through his recent collaborations resulting in new insights on indirect reciprocity and social comparison, the dynamics of prejudice, identity fusion and cognitive dissonance, using agent-based computational approaches and data analysis.