Global firm supports new management prize fellow

Grant Thornton is strengthening its relationship with the University by supporting a new prize fellowship in the School of Management’s Centre in Strategic Risk, creating the first corporate named academic position in the School.

Dr Elena Veprauskaite has joined the Centre as the Grant Thornton Research Fellow in Strategic Risk Management and will receive funding of £50,000 over the next three years from the business and financial advisory firm to support her research activities.

The Grant Thornton Research Fellow is one of 22 new prize fellowships created across the University’s faculties and departments.

The prize fellow positions are created to enable talented early career researchers to pursue top level research, while seeking corporate and public policy links and generating research grants.

Dr Elena Veprauskaite is the Grant Thornton Research Fellow in Strategic Risk

Professor Jane Millar, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research said: “Our new prize fellow positions are filled by elite early career scholars who can attract public, corporate or philanthropic funds for their research and we look forward to the important contribution they are set to make to our research portfolio.

“Elena will have an opportunity to spend a sabbatical at a leading international university and this will mean she can work with global experts in her field to further develop her research.

“Support from Grant Thornton provides a direct route to research impact and is consistent with the University’s intentions to further strengthen our links with businesses.”

Dr Veprauskaite completed her undergraduate studies in Agricultural Economics in her home country of Lithuania and studied at the University of Swansea for a Masters in Business Economics with Finance. She completed her PhD on Reserving, Reinsurance and Earnings Management in the UK Property-Liability Insurance Market, sponsored by the UK Government Actuary’s Department, at Bath.

Her links with Grant Thornton will give her access to resources, documents, infrastructure and contacts that will help her to pursue her research agenda and in turn she will provide the company with analytical support.

Her research will focus on the link between risk and financial management, and the accounting and tax implications in the insurance market and is likely to extend to strategic financial decisions within insurance companies overseas and in developing markets. Her results are expected to inform the decisions insurance companies are making to manage their earnings and could have considerable public policy implications.

Dr Veprauskaite said: “It’s great to take this position and to know that my research is going to have a very real business application. Twice a year I will make presentations to Grant Thornton to ensure my research remains relevant to their business priorities.”

Peter Allen, Global Head of Insurance Services at Grant Thornton UK LLP said: “We enjoy good links with Bath on the teaching side, supporting prizes for two masters programmes within the School of Management, and we are very pleased to extend this to an academic position. The issue of strategic risk is high on our agenda so it’s important for us to link to a leading university that can provide new insight into the subject, as well as analytical support and a steer on relevant academic literature.”

Prize fellows that have joined across the University include:

Dr Ruth Webster has joined the Department of Chemistry having completed her PhD at the University of Bristol and a 12-month Commonwealth Research Fellowship undertaking postdoctoral research at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She will be continuing her research into the use of metals to make compounds in a new way that could be used by the pharmaceutical industry for drug discovery.

Dr Matthew Dickson has joined the Department of Social & Policy Sciences, having held a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (funded by the EU) at the UCD Geary Institute, at University College Dublin, from June 2011. His research looks at the causal effects of education on later life outcomes. He will address what changes in people when they become more educated, how this affects their own life and in particular their parenting, and how this then affects the next generation.

Dr Tim Rogers has joined the Department of Mathematical Sciences, after working as a postdoctoral researcher in Theoretical Physics at the University of Manchester. The main goal of his research is to develop mathematical techniques to predict the behaviour of random processes on networks. These networks range from the spread of information through social media to the organisation of biochemical reactions in a cell. His research will look into understanding the interplay between the network structure and the processes which it describes.

Dr Melanie Kreye has joined the School of Management, having worked as a Research Officer in the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her current research is analysing behavioural uncertainties in the context of long-term contractual arrangements between producers of complex engineering artefacts (such as aircraft manufacturers) and operators of these. Her project will focus on the importance that human behaviour has in these projects and how they can be managed to secure the projects being delivered on schedule and on budget.

Dr Manabrata Guha has joined the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies from the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bangalore, India, where he was an Assistant Professor (International Security and Strategy). His macro-level research agenda is designed to interrogate war, security, and the political by problematizing the structure and dynamics of politico-military theory, assessing emergent assemblages involved in the establishing, policing, and challenging of regimes of war and security; and examining emergent-speculative models of martial operability.

Dr Gareth Veal has joined the School of Management, having worked as a consultant with industry while undertaking his PhD at Lancaster University. His key research interests are the business response to climate change, new business models for sustainability, environmental regulation and change management in the context of sustainability. He is interested in understanding the role that business could play in implementing sustainable energy solutions and is investigating new business models for sustainability and the role of environmental regulation

Dr Valeska Ting from the Department of Chemical Engineering will be designing multifunctional materials by combining the properties of different sets of materials to produce hybrid systems that can perform several specialised functions. Dr Ting’s fellowship will begin with the development of smart nanomaterial constructs, which are engineered to provide responsive control of the three-dimensional nanoscale structure for the manipulation and storage of low-density gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane.

Dr Carl Sangan from the Department of Mechanical Engineering has been appointed as a Prize Fellow in Gas Turbine Engineering. Dr Sangan has a particular interest in experimental and theoretical modelling of the flow and heat transfer in rotating disc systems. Carl's current research is in turbine cooling through the efficient use of gas turbine secondary air systems.

Dr Richard Burke from the Department of Mechanical Engineering has been appointed Prize Fellow in Automotive Powertrain Systems and is focused on the characterisation of these systems under dynamic operating conditions. Dr Burke’s research is focussed on the characterisation of powertrain systems under dynamic conditions which are a closer representation of real world usage. The main aim of the research is the reduction of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption through the physical understanding of a wide range of components and the interactions that occur when coupled together as system.

Dr Willem Heijltjes has joined the Mathematical Foundations Group in the Department of Computer Science. His main research interest is Logic and Proof Theory. The emphasis of his research is on graphical proof formalisms, proof identity, game-theoretic semantics and the link with concurrency theory. At Bath Dr Heijltjes is working on a three-year EPSRC project aimed at developing an ambitious, modern semantic-motivated proof theory for representing natural proofs of minimal complexity.

Dr Biagio Forte has joined the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering. He will be researching Space Weather and its impact on technological systems such as satellite navigation and telecommunication services. The Fellowship will include the modelling of the propagation channel through the ionospheric portion of the Earth atmosphere, the description and modelling of space weather impact on satellite based telecommunications, and the modelling of improved and alternative systems.

Prize fellow post holders that will join the University in 2013 are:

Dr Katie Maras, Department of Psychology
Stephanie Diezmann, Department of Biology & Biochemistry
Silvia Munoz-Descaldo, Department of Biology & Biochemistry
Marcin Mucha-Kruczynski, Department of Physics
Jie Chen, School of Management


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