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Vice-Chancellor's Fellows

Northumbria is a research-intensive university that unlocks potential for all. We change lives through education and research, tackling the global challenges of our age to transform society. 

Northumbria has transformed in recent years combining a focus on research excellence and social mobility, challenging the status quo to become a new kind of University. In celebration of our transformation and to support our ambitious plans we launched our Vice Chancellors Fellowship scheme, appointing the first cohort of exceptional academics, who have joined a range of disciplines across the University, all listed below.

Our Vice-Chancellor’s Fellows are each shaping their individual and collaborative fields of research, and are aligned to one of the University discipline areas or Research Peaks of Excellence. 


Justin Andrushko

Dr Justin Andrushko

Justin's research is focused on improving health outcomes for individuals that have suffered an orthopaedic or neurological injury primarily affecting one side of the body. Justin’s primarily research interest is in understanding the neural mechanisms of the cross-education effect; where exercising one side of the body elicits a positive benefit to the same muscle group on the opposite side of the body. Though mechanistic investigations Justin aims to identify how we can maximise the effectiveness of cross-education and determine how best cross-education can be implemented to improve rehabilitation outcomes after injury.

Research Profile 

Girish Beedessee

Dr Girish Beedessee

Girish completed his PhD in the field of computational genomics at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology where he surveyed genomic and transcriptomic events in dinoflagellates. He was then a Herchel Smith fellow at University of Cambridge, where he employed biophysical, biochemical and computational approaches to understand DNA organisation in dinoflagellates. Girish is mainly interested in evolutionary processes that drives secondary metabolism. His research focuses on a larger group of microorganisms (protists) and their role in ecological settings with respect to their adaptation and lifestyles.

Research Profile 

Vanessa Bettinson

Dr Vanessa Bettinson

Vanessa’s main research focus is embedding understandings of domestic abuse, particularly coercive control, in the criminal law and criminal justice system. As an academic lawyer she uses doctrinal, socio-legal and comparative approaches in her work. Her work is aligned with the Gender Violence and Abuse IDRT, where she sits on the Management Board, and she has collaborated with external organisations and academics in relation to interdisciplinary projects in the field of domestic violence and abuse. Vanessa has provided written evidence to the parliaments of Westminster and Scotland during the debates for legal reform introducing coercive control offences and she is now exploring the challenges of accessing defences by coerced and controlled victims who commit crimes either against their abusers or because of their abusers.

Research Profile 

tom Cheney

Dr Thomas Cheney

Thomas's research fellowship develops the notion of ‘life as a frontier’ borrowing from Vannevar Bush’s “Endless Frontier” to look at astrobiology, biotechnology and space colonization. This work engages with key questions for the law and governance as developments reshape our understanding of life and humanity’s relationship to and with ‘nature’. This work builds on his previous work with AstrobiologyOU and is grounded in legal geography and the environmental humanities. It critically examines the foundations of the space governance regime, specifically the concept of the ‘space frontier’ and as a ‘frontier’.

Research Profile 

Martyn Dade Robertson

Prof Martyn Dade-Robertson

Martyn Dade-Robertson is a Professor of Emerging Technology at Northumbria University where he specialises in Design Computation with a special interest in emerging technologies particularly Synthetic Biology. He was a founder and Co-Director or the Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment (HBBE), a new research centre integrating design, biology and engineering to develop new 'living' buildings. He has degrees in Architectural Design, Architectural Computation and Synthetic Biology. He is the author the book: The Architecture of Information published by Routledge in 2011. He is currently the editor for the Routledge book series on Bio Design and has completed the first book Living Construction in 2020 and the editor in Chief for the Cambridge University Press journal Biotechnology Design. He leads the Living Construction group with Prof. Meng Zhang.

Research Profile 

Rasheedat Modupe Mahamood

Dr Rasheedat Modupe Mahamood

Dr Rasheedat Modupe Mahamood is a Vice chancellor Fellow- Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Environment. Her research interests is in Advanced Manufacturing technology such as Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing, Laser and Friction Stir Welding, development and characterisation of advanced composite and functionally graded materials for Biomedical and aerospace application, and Renewable energy. Dr Mahamood has B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering, M.Eng in Mechanical Engineering and PhD in Mechanical Engineering. She is passionate about research and love to collaborate with colleagues to bring about innovative solutions to present day Engineering problems.

Research Profile 

Olivia Mason

Dr Olivia Mason

Olivia's research seeks to better understand the environmental legacies of colonialism and to improve the lives of rural communities, especially Bedouin, in the Middle East affected by environmental changes. I am an interdisciplinary scholar whose work sits across cultural, environmental, (post)colonial, and political geography and to date has mostly been focused on Jordan. Currently it is centred around two themes: 1) mobility politics, especially how movement is conditioned by situated cultural politics and 2) resource colonialism, including the entanglements of resource scarcity with (post)colonial politics. Olivia is currently working on an ESRC funded research project looking at the resource politics of nature reserves in Jordan, this includes policy work to improve conditions for rural communities in Jordan impacted by environmental policies.

Research Profile 

Graham McCelland

Dr Graham McClelland

Graham is a paramedic by background and his research interests encompass all aspects of prehospital care and paramedic practice. Graham was awarded a fellowship by The Stroke Association to complete his PhD which explored paramedic identification of stroke mimics. The Stroke Association also funded further work looking into prehospital timelines with stroke patients and the potential to use telemedicine to improve emergency stroke care. Graham is a fellow of the College of Paramedics, a member of the College research committee and sits on the editorial board of the British Paramedic Journal.

Research Profile 

Henry Miller

Dr Henry Miller 

A historian whose research has been funded by the Leverhulme Trust, AHRC, and ESRC, Henry has a broad interest in social history and political culture in modern Britain and beyond. His recent and current research revolves arounds the history of petitions and petitioning and has addressed important questions within social and political science concerning representation, democracy, and collective action from a historical perspective. For his future research, Henry plans on developing collaborative projects concerning the role of petitions within imperial and post-colonial contexts and the local history of democracy in Britain over the past two centuries. 

Research Profile 

Guy Jackson

Dr Guy Jackson

Guy Jackson is an interdisciplinary social scientist exploring human-environmental relations by examining disasters, climate change, and environmental change. He has published widely in leading interdisciplinary journals, with a growing track record of high-impact research. His postdoctoral work has primarily focused on theoretical and empirical research on the political, economic, and cultural dimensions of climate change loss and damage. Throughout the Vice Chancellor’s Fellowship, he will primarily work on two international projects on power and politics in cross-scale climate change adaptation and climate change immobilities. Guy is a member of various networks, such as the Loss and Damage Collaboration (L&DC) and the African Loss and Damage Network (ALADAN).

Research Profile 

Giray Kartipu

Dr Giray Kartopu

Giray Kartopu is a Vice-Chancellor Fellow appointed in 2023 and currently serves as an Assistant Professor in Physics within the Faculty of Engineering and Environment. His research focuses on Energy Materials, with a visionary goal to enhance the performance of emerging thin film solar cells through innovative nano-engineering techniques. Dr. Kartopu aims to scale up these advancements for product- and building-integrated solar photovoltaic (PIPV, BIPV) applications. He authored over 60 research papers and contributed to 3 book chapters in the field of thin films and nanotechnology.

Research Profile 

Richard Robinson

Prof Richard Robinson

Richard joined Newcastle Business School in 2024, after 19 years at The University of Queensland, Australia, before which he enjoyed an 18-year career as a chef. Specialising in services employment and work, his projects have investigated the tourism, hospitality, leisure, transport, retail and welfare/social service sector contexts in the formal, gig and grey economies. His research has been funded by fellowships, competitive research grants, corporations, not-for-profits, industry peak associations, governments, and international agencies - and explore themes such as fair, safe and sustainable work, mental health and wellbeing, careers and vocations, training and development. 

Research Profile 

Emiliano Renzi

Prof Emiliano Renzi 

Emiliano is Professor of Industrial Mathematics in the Mathematics for Complex and Nonlinear Phenomena (MCNP) Group. His fundamental research in analytical and computational modelling underpins the development of advanced mathematical techniques to study partial differential equations and their applications to linear and nonlinear waves. His work informs the design of novel technologies that will enable coastal cities to become energy self-sufficient and to better protect their population and infrastructures from coastal hazards, exacerbated by raising sea levels and storminess due to climate change. Emiliano enjoys a strong track-record of successful collaborations with experts in other disciplines (e.g., meteorology, geophysics, engineering) and non-academic partners, such as Met Office, British Geological Survey, Aquamarine Power Ltd.

Research Profile 

Rodrigo Vitorio

Dr Rodrigo Vitório

Dr Rodrigo Vitório’s research is focused on better understanding the neural correlates of mobility impairments and developing enhanced assessments and interventions. His projects combine portable brain imaging technologies (e.g., EEG/fNRS), movement analysis (e.g., inertial sensors) and neurophysiology (e.g., motor-evoked potentials) to identify people at risk of falling and brain areas suitable to be targeted by interventions. His Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship aims to develop non-invasive brain stimulation (e.g., tDCS) as a treatment option for mobility impairments in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Research Profile 

Rachel Warriner

Dr Rachel Warriner

Rachel is an art historian interested in the relationship between political activism and art. Looking at challenges to art’s institutions, the role culture plays in conflict, and the politics of gender and sexuality in the art world, my research examines the politics of art’s production. I have published on feminist art and poetry in The Oxford Art Journal, The Irish University Review, Courtauld Books Online, Muße, and The Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry and co-organised the Courtauld's Gender and Sexuality Research Group. Rachel's book Pain and Politics in Postwar Feminist Art: Activism in the Work of Nancy Spero was published by Bloomsbury in 2023.

Research Profile 

Xia Hongyan

Dr Hongyan Xia

Dr. Hongyan Xia is a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Applied Science, Northumbria University at Newcastle. She is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Before joining Northumbria University, she was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Her research experience covers a wide range including, design and synthesis of functional molecules and polymers, fabrication of polymer microstructures, research on colour and emission changes of materials and their applications for information display and storage and study of stimuli-responsiveness for sensors.

Research Profile 

Steph Yardley

Dr Steph Yardley

Steph is an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellow and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow in the Solar and Space Physics Group at Northumbria University. Her research focuses on understanding the physical processes underlying solar activity and space weather. In particular, solar phenomena that can drive hazardous space weather conditions in the near-Earth environment such as coronal mass ejections (eruptions of magnetised plasma), energetic particles accelerated during these eruptions, and the solar wind (continuous flow of particles from the Sun). Alongside her research, she is actively involved in public engagement, media and outreach activities aimed at various audiences from school students to the general public. 

Research Profile

Qiuji Yi

Dr Qiuji Yi

Qiuji's research focus on multi-dimensional data processing/feature extraction and fusion, data-driven twin modelling and inversion analysis. One of his papers about proposing an automatic delamination detection framework using Kernal Principal Component is the most cited work in the top journal. Qiuji is currently developing and delivering an agreed personal research plan and participating in institutional and collaborative research, with industry stakeholders (Rolls-Royce, GKN aerospace and the National Composite Centre), and other University partners (TU Delft, UESTC, Newcastle University). He is also actively looking for research funding opportunities. Qiuji is particularly excited about advancing fundamental AI capabilities while addressing pressing engineering needs in Manufacturing and Maintenance, such as AI for non-destructive testing and structural health monitoring. He is looking forward to exploring these multidisciplinary problems with collaborators from academia and industry.

Research Profile 



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