Researcher Academy

Researcher Academy Faculty Leads (RAFLs) are senior academics who act as a key interface with postgraduates and early career researchers as well as other stakeholders.

Lucy Bradnock (Faculty of Arts)

I am the Researcher Academy Faculty Lead (RAFL) for the Faculty of Arts and Associate Professor of History of Art in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies (CLAS). My research focuses on histories of American art, criticism, and curating post-1945, with a particular emphasis on the intersection of visual art and experimental theatre; regional cultural identity in the United States throughout the twentieth century; and counter-cultural or otherwise alternative sites of artistic production and display.

In my Researcher Academy role, I work closely with staff in the Researcher Academy on aspects of training and development for doctoral and early career researchers in the Faculty, and I work at faculty and university level to build a healthy and supportive research culture for postgraduate researchers. 


Nicole Porter (Faculty of Engineering)

I am an Associate Professor of Architecture and Landscape, based in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Engineering). My research explores the many values that humans associate with nature – ecological, philosophical, psychological, symbolic, spiritual, and economic – and interprets how these values are embodied in contemporary landscape design and policy. My current research interests include cross-cultural comparisons of biophilic design, national park design, and integrating mindfulness and place-making for wellbeing. Prior to joining the University of Nottingham in 2011, I worked as an urban designer and academic in Canberra and Melbourne, Australia, and before this I completed my PhD at the University of Melbourne which was published by Routledge here. It is no exaggeration to say that completing a PhD positively transformed my life, as it opened up a world of new ideas, skills, people, places, opportunities and challenges that I had not imagined.

As the RAFL for the faculty of Engineering I am here to support a diverse community of PGRs to each achieve the most from their PGR experience, and to continue to be inspired by the research they undertake.


Ifty Ahmed (Faculty of Engineering)

I am an Associate Professor within the Faculty of Engineering’s, Advanced Materials Research group. My research interests span Biomaterials, Bioglasses, Biocomposites and my research group mainly work on Phosphate-Based Glasses. These materials have been investigated for biomedical applications where the temporary presence of an implant is required, consequently negating the need for implant removal. More recently, I have developed a unique processing method for manufacturing dense and highly porous microspheres from a range of inorganic materials.  

In my role as Researcher Academy Faculty Lead (RAFL) for Engineering , I work with an excellent group of research fellows from varying research groups, as well as with staff in the Researcher Academy and Engineering Research Office to support the training and development of the Faculty’s researcher community. 



Alexander Tarr (Faculty of Life Sciences)

I am an Assistant Professor in Molecular Virology in the School of Life Sciences. My research investigates mechanisms of virus entry and immune responses to chronic and acute viral infections. I am particularly interested in hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus and, more recently, SARS-CoV-2. This research contributes to development of novel antiviral therapies and informs vaccine design.

I previously represented research staff within the University as the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences representative on the Research Staff Group. I have also represented the University at the UK Research Staff Association. In my role as Deputy Researcher Academy Faculty Lead for Medicine and Health Sciences I am representing the interests of all research staff in the Faculty, working with the Researcher Academy and individual schools to support research staff in their career development.


Anna Grabowska (Faculty of Medicine)

I am Professor in Cancer Microenvironment and the Researcher Academy Faculty Lead (RAFL) for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS). My research interests are in developing more clinically-relevant models of cancer which enable us to identify better drug targets and thus, more effective therapeutic interventions for patients.  

As RAFL for FMHS, I meet regularly with RAFLs for other Faculties in the University and staff in the Researcher Academy, and within the Faculty, with the School’s Directors of Studies for postgraduate researchers.  We share good practice and aim to ensure that researchers within the Faculty have all the support needed to engage effectively with their studies and achieve their research ambitions.  Recently, I have been joined in this role by Dr Alex Tarr and, working together, we will be able to expand our support to research staff as well as PhD students



Richard Graham (Faculty of Science)

I am a Professor in the School of Mathermatical Sciences. My research centres around modelling the motion of atoms and molecules to predict physical properties such as fluid flow, phase transitions and solid-state properties. To model this I use molecular simulation, multiscale modelling and machine learning.

In my Researcher Academy role, I work closely with staff in the Researcher Academy and in academic departments to support development and training of researchers. This involves collaborating with each School in the Faculty to help researchers unlock their full potential. 


Dov Stekel (Faculty of Science)

I am Professor of Computational Biology in the School of Biosciences. My research team use mathematical, statistical and computational techniques to build predictive models for biological systems. Recently, our work has focussed on the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance, with a particular emphasis on agriculture and the environment. This research has both led to and benefitted from productive collaborations across many disciplines, schools and faculties. Prior to taking my Researcher Academy Role, I was Director of Postgraduate Studies in my school.

I am delighted to be deputy RAFL for Science, as well as chair of the Research Staff Committee. In my roles, I work with the other RAFLs, PGR leads, and student and staff representatives to promote the development of excellent, supportive and inclusive research culture across the faculty and university, including the implementation of the 2019 Concordat to support the career development of researchers. 



Laurie Cohen (Faculty of Social Sciences)

I am Professor of Work and Organisation in Nottingham University Business School, My research focuses on career-making over the lifespan, include changing careers; careers in different types of organisation; working in professional service firms; and research methods in the study of career, focusing in particular on interpretive approaches and the use of narrative.

Much of my research revolves around women's working lives and careers, and for several years I have explored how gender plays out in scientific research, engineering and higher education sectors. My work has been supported through a series of grants from the Economic and Social Research Council, the British Academy and the Nottingham/Birmingham Collaboration Fund. I have published widely in both academic journals, and in practitioner outlets, eg Harvard Business Review. I am on the editorial boards of Journal of Vocational Behavior, Management Learning, Journal of Professions and Organization, and Management Inquiry. 



Researcher Academy

University of Nottingham
Highfield House, University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

UON researchers and staff contact form

Follow us on social media: