Directors of Research & Innovation

Our five Faculty Directors of Research & Innovation (FDRIs) are responsible for developing and leading research, innovation and knowledge exchange strategies for their respective research areas. Working together, and with the Vice-President for Research & Innovation, Professor David Petley, they play an important role in promoting inter-departmental and inter-disciplinary research activity.

Faculty Directors of Research & Innovation

Robert Shoemaker

Arts and Humanities: Professor Robert Shoemaker

Robert Shoemaker is Professor of Eighteenth-Century British history. His main interests lie in social and cultural history, particularly urban history, gender history, and the history of crime, justice and punishment, and in the use of digital technologies in historical research.

He is currently co-director of The Digital Panopticon: The Global Impact of London Punishments, 1780-1925, an AHRC funded 'Digital Transformations' project which will use digital technologies to bring together existing and new genealogical, biometric and criminal justice datasets in order to explore the impact of the different types of penal punishments on the lives of 66,000 people convicted at The Old Bailey between 1780 and 1865.

As FDRI for Arts and Humanities, Robert is working closely with the Humanities Research Institute and other research centres and clusters within the Faculty and is closely supported by the Research Services team.

Professor John Haycock

Engineering: Professor John Haycock

John Haycock is Professor of Bioengineering. He joined the Faculty of Engineering in 2001 from the Medical School at the University of Sheffield where he was a Research Fellow. He obtained his first degree and PhD in Biochemistry at Newcastle University and was a Research Fellow at Albany Medical College in New York. His research is on the development of biomaterials and medical devices for: 

  1. Repairing and regenerating nerve injury
  2. 3D in vitro models.
  3. Creating bioactive surfaces.

His largest grant currently is from the EU, funding a consortium to design and develop surgical implants to repair nerve with partners in the UK, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

Wendy Baird

Medicine, Dentistry and Health: Professor Wendy Baird

Wendy Baird's research interests focus on inequalities in health and access to health services for both those with chronic disabling diseases and those who are socially excluded from care, as well as being a leading national advocate for public and patient involvement in research. As the Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research Design Service for Yorkshire and the Humber (based in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health's School of Health and Related Research), Wendy leads the regions service to support researchers to develop and design high quality research proposals for submission to the NIHR and other national, peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research.

Simon Foster

Science: Professor Simon Foster

Simon is a Professor of Molecular Microbiology having worked for over 20 years on the molecular physiology of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), a major cause of death and disease in humans. The spread of antibiotic resistance (MRSA, VRSA) highlights its importance. His research has concentrated on a number of areas including stress responses, vaccine development, essential genes, host-pathogen interaction and cell wall architecture/dynamics. His research spans from fundamental biology to the discovery and development of targets for novel therapy and prophylaxis.

James Wilsdon

Social Sciences: Professor James Wilsdon

James joined the Department of Politics as Professor of Research Policy in January 2016. He combines this with a role as Director of Impact and Engagement for the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Associate Director in the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures. His research interests include the role of evidence & expertise in policymaking; the politics and practice of scientific advice; interdisciplinarity, particularly between natural and social sciences; science, research and innovation policy in the UK, Europe and China; scientometrics; the future of the impact agenda; and public engagement in research.