Cancer expert takes the research reins at Nottingham

Following a rigorous search, Professor Dame Jessica Corner has been appointed as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at The University of Nottingham.

Currently Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton, Dame Jessica will assume leadership of this key portfolio on Friday January 1 2016.

Internationally competitive research performance is central to The University of Nottingham’s success, with a current portfolio of awards exceeding £550m.

As a member of the University’s Executive Board, Dame Jessica will provide strategic leadership for research and knowledge exchange at an exciting time as the University drives delivery of its new strategic plan.

Dame Jessica said: “I am looking forward to the exciting challenges that lie ahead in my new role at Nottingham. The University is well known for its impressive research portfolio and I am thrilled that I will be able to work with the Executive Board to lead research through its next stage of development.”

Dame Jessica has over 25 years’ experience in higher education. She was one of the first students to graduate with a degree in Nursing from London University and then went on to specialise in cancer nursing at the Royal Marsden Hospital before completing her PhD at King’s College. She was Director of the Centre of Cancer and Palliative Care Studies at the Institute of Cancer Research, London for 12 years and was the first nurse to be appointed to a Chair at the Institute. She joined the University of Southampton in 2002.

Throughout her career her research has focused on improving the care and support for people with cancer; mostly recently Dame Jessica’s focus has been on health outcomes following treatment for cancer as part of national and international efforts around cancer survivorship. In 2005 she was seconded to the charity Macmillan Cancer Support to work as Director of Improving Cancer Services, returning to University of Southampton in 2008 to become Head of the School of Health Sciences. She was appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences in 2010 and continues to advise Macmillan Cancer Support as Chief Clinician.

Dame Jessica holds a number of key national roles. She is co-chair of the NHS England Cancer Patient Experience Advisory Group; Chair of the Council of Deans of Health and Director of NIHR CLAHRC Wessex. She was awarded a DBE in 2014 for services to Health Care Research and Education and elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015.

Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “I am absolutely delighted Professor Dame Jessica Corner is joining us. She brings a combination of research accomplishments of high international standing, experience in key leadership roles, and values that align with Nottingham’s culture. That makes this the perfect appointment. I very much look forward to working with Jessica to deliver the high ambition we have for Nottingham in research and knowledge exchange.”

Lizzie Jelfs, Director of the Council of Deans of Health, said: “On behalf of the Council I would like to congratulate Jessica on her new role at The University of Nottingham. The Council has benefited greatly from Jessica’s experience and leadership and we’re delighted that she’s staying on as Chair as she makes the transition to Nottingham.”

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