Posted Thursday 18 August 2011
A leading academic has called for universities to forge much closer links with business and to focus on more cutting-edge research.
Speaking following her inaugural lecture on July 29, Kingston University's new dean of Science, Engineering and Computing, Professor Edith Sim, said the key to improving graduates' prospects in these tough times, as well as providing the catalyst for economic growth, was to establish very close links with industry at every level. "Universities must continue to improve their relationships with enterprise, no matter how big or small," she said. "This is of course important for all universities, but for institutions like Kingston it is more vital than ever to work hand in hand with business - we need to let local industry see just what we have to offer."
This was vital not only so universities could provide work experience and job opportunities for their students, she added, but also so business principles would inform teaching while enterprise, in turn, could benefit from research and excellent graduate employees.
Professor Sim joins the University from her previous role as Professor of Pharmacology and Director of Graduate and Staff Training for Medical Sciences at the University of Oxford. She was speaking at the launch of the new faculty which brings together technology and science subjects from across the University, from aeronautical and mechanical engineering to geology, CCTV, maths, genetics and biology. The aim is to provide closer co-operation between subject areas, boosting both teaching and research in the process.
"Our emphasis is on delivering research-informed teaching to students and to support research at the cutting edge," Professor Sim said. "We will continue to nurture an atmosphere where excellence in teaching and research is considered as standard."
Kingston's Vice-Chancellor Professor Julius Weinberg said that Professor Sim's work epitomised the key focus of the new faculty by being relevant to real-world problems, scientifically rigorous, and innovative. "Edith's passion for research is equally mirrored by the students and staff around her and we are very fortunate to have her here at Kingston," he said.
To mark the launch of the new faculty, staff from around the University, research students, former colleagues and family members attended Professor Sim's lecture, entitled 'Drugs and Bugs' or, alternatively, 'More than you ever wanted to know about arylamine N-acetyltransferase.' In it, Edith discussed the factors that influence why some people are affected by diseases while others are not. She also discussed ways to develop new drugs to combat disease.