Over the last few months we have had the great pleasure to welcome Professors Gordon Blunn, Leila Choukroune, Gary Fones, Adrian Hopgood and Dr Peter Lee as Directors of the University’s five thematic areas. Each thematic area will focus on developing interdisciplinary partnerships across the institution and supporting engagement with a wide variety of external national and international partners. The interdisciplinary focus of the themes will enable the University to build on it’s core subject level strengths and grow in new directions. The Theme Directors will play a vital role in providing leadership to the themes as they become more established as well providing the direction and vision required to enable them to grow.

Find out more about the thematic areas below:

Democratic Citizenship

Director: Professor Leila Choukroune

Research Development Officer: Dr Stephanie Lasalle

Beyond nations, borders and communities, but also languages, histories, genders and bodies, the democratic citizenship thematic area proposes to question fundamental issues of our time in a multidisciplinary manner. In nurturing new talents, supporting initiatives and raising our international profile, the DC thematic area aims at fostering a dynamic research culture from within to without.  


Future and Emerging Technologies

Director: Professor Adrian Hopgood

Research Development Officer: Dr Louise Butt

In growing the Future and Emerging Technologies theme, Adrian will focus on developing technologies and their diverse applications across the university and in partnership with external organisations. The initial priority areas will match the first four grand challenges identified in the recently published UK Industrial Strategy: growing the Artificial Intelligence and data-driven economy, clean growth, the future of mobility, and the ageing society.


Health and Wellbeing

Director: Professor Gordon Blunn

Research Development Officer: Joe Shoebridge

The Health and Wellbeing theme will focus on aspects of the prevention, treatment, and management of illness as well as  the physical, mental, and social fulfillment of the individual.


Security and Risk

Director: Dr Peter Lee

Research Development Officer: Ying Ying Cheung

Security and Risk theme which spans a wide range of research and innovation interests, a few examples of which include policing, cybercrime, terrorism, defence, military, and food and water security, to forensic psychology, crisis management and resilience.


Sustainability and the Environment

Director: Professor Gary Fones

Research Development Officer: Tom Greenwood

The Sustainability and the Environment theme recognises and builds on existing research and innovation strengths such as changing environments and climate, crustal evolution, ecological systems and biodiversity, environmental monitoring and pollution, energy and transport, green infrastructure, low carbon design and sustainable cities.