Advisory Board

Professor Rick Rylance (Chair)Rick Rylance

Professor Rylance is Dean and Chief Executive of the School of Advanced Study and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of London. He has also held the roles of Chief Executive  of the Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC), and dean at the universities of Exeter and Anglia Ruskin. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1998, and Founding Fellow of the English Association in 1999. His main research interests are in 19th and 20th century literature, the history of psychology, and the psychology of reading.

Professor Andrew FryAndrew Fry

Professor Fry is Professor of Cell Biology and College Director of Research (Life Sciences) at the University of Leicester. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, and his research aims to better understand the biology of cancer in order to develop more effective treatments for patients.


Austen OkonwezeAusten Okonweze

Austen is Head of Life Sciences Industrial Strategy, at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. He was previously Head of Digital Skills Policy and Assistant Director of Cyber Science and Innovation at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and has particular interests in the interface between strategic policy, innovation, and practice.

Professor Clare WoodClare Wood

Professor Wood joined Nottingham Trent University in May 2017. Prior to that she was Executive Director of the Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement at Coventry University. Her interests are concerned with children’s reading and legal literacy development, and digital technology. Her work has been supported by the Leverhulme Trust, Education Endowment Foundation, and European Research Council.

Dr Joshua Vande HeyJoshua Vanderhey

Dr Vande Hey is Lecturer in Environment and Health at the University of Leicester. After beginning his research in optics and atmospheric sensor engineering, his focus is now on understanding indoor and outdoor air pollution, its effects on human health, and exposure mitigation strategies in both the UK and other countries.

Dr Laura MeagherLaura Meagher

Dr Meagher is an independent consultant in strategic change in research and higher education, specialising in the development and evaluation of innovative approaches including interdisciplinarity, impact-generation and capacity-building, as well as in writing about and providing masterclasses/workshops on these processes. Along with peer-reviewed articles, she has co-authored the book Interdisciplinary Research Journeys: Practical Strategies for Capturing Creativity, available in paperback or free online, Bloomsbury Press.

Professor Mark PurnellMark Purnell

Professor Purnell is Professor of Palaeobiology and Director of Research (Science and Engineering) at the University of Leicester. His work ranges across functional morphology, palaeobiology and palaeoecology, and taxonomy, and focuses on developing tooth microwear analysis of feeding in fishes and dinosaurs, and the evolution of complexity in vertebrates. Professor Purnell has collaborators across the UK, USA, China and Canada; he was awarded the Hinde Medal of the Pander Society in 2006, and was Vice-President of the Palaeontological Association between 2003-2005.

Professor Richard ThomasProfessor Richard Thomas

Professor Thomas is Dean of Research for the College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities at the University of Leicester and Professor of Archaeology in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History. He has also held roles as Chair of the Association for Environmental Archaeology and sits on the International Committee of the International Council for Archaeozooology. He was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries  and the Linnean Society in 2010, and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2018. Prof. Thomas co-founded the ICAZ Animal Palaeopathogy Working Group in 1999. His main research interests are in the archaeological study of human-animal relations in medieval and early modern England and the study of animal disease and injury in the past.