An Introduction by Professor Alan Gange

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProfessor Alan Gange, Head of the School of Biological Sciences

Welcome to the first edition of the School newsletter for this session. A publication like this can only be a success if people contribute, so please contact the editors if you have a story to tell, an event to advertise, a fund raising event, in short anything!

This has been a most exciting summer for the School. We welcome three new members of staff this term: Prof Pankaj Sharma joins as Professor of Neurology, Dr Steve Portugal as Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and Dr Rudiger Riesch as Lecturer in Evolutionary Biology. Over the last year, the academic staff have attracted a nearrecord research income of just on £4 million, and their efforts in research, teaching and assessment, together with those of our students, meant that our ranking in The Times Complete University Guide rose 11 places. Of the 99 departments in the sector, only one (St Andrews) saw a greater rise, and I would like to thank everyone for their efforts in helping us achieve this improvement.

Congratulations are in order for Dr Chris Wilkinson, whose son George was born on June 23rd and to Dr Elli Leadbeater, who is expecting a baby in November. She will be with us for the first part of term, before going on maternity leave. Congratulations also to James Hourston, who won the Marsh Christian Trust Prize (£1,000) for his PhD work. The prize will be presented at the Royal Horticultural Society in November.

I am delighted to say that our student society, BioSoc, won the SU prize for most improved Society last year. Please help to maintain this momentum and get involved with Society activities. The new President is Shreya Shukla, and I am sure she will be pleased to hear of suggestions and offers of help. Early on in the term there will be elections for year representatives to sit on the Student-Staff Committee. This is an important forum for views to be heard and changes made, so do consider standing for election.

Activities such as participating in BioSoc and the SSC are a good thing to put on a CV and show an employer that you have a wide range of skills. Another excellent way to do this is the Royal Holloway Passport Scheme.

All students are automatically enrolled in the Passport and you should check out the range of activities that contribute towards it. It is a marvellous way to enhance your CV and make you more attractive to employers.

Finally, I want to offer a special welcome to those students joining our first year. Thank you for choosing Royal Holloway, and I hope you enjoy your degree with us. I am delighted to say that three of our new students have been offered a place on the Student Talented Athlete Recognition Scheme (STARS). Congratulations to Victoria Mitchell, Shaquille Harvey and Samuel Baylis!

Don’t forget – help is always at hand if you need it. A number of our students have signed up to act as Peer Guides to assist you. If you have any questions about life at Royal Holloway, academic or otherwise, please ask your Personal tutor or Doreen, Mel and Nikki in the teaching office.

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