New Lancaster University role will encourage public to get involved with research

The Ethos of Eden, the strength of Lancaster University and the ‘place’ of Morecambe will provide the perfect backdrop for inspiring the public to get ‘hands-on’ involved in new research.

That is the vision of Professor Jo Knight, who takes up a new appointment, announced this week by Lancaster University, as the first Research Director for Eden Project North (EPN).

This exciting new role will focus on leading the co-ordination of research and enterprise opportunities across the University and with key external partners as they relate to the Eden Project North.

Through this leadership, the University will harness its strengths in environment and sustainability, innovative design, data science, societal change, health innovation, clean energy and allied areas, to build and grow an international research, enterprise and engagement platform through the global visibility of this unique project.

A professor of Applied Data Science within Lancaster Medical School, Jo has been Co-Director of the Data Science Institute since 2019 and Director of Research in the Medical School since 2016.

Prior to joining Lancaster University in 2016, Jo worked at the University of Toronto and Kings College London.

Her research spans two main areas – the analysis of genetic data to identify variants that increase risk of complex traits and the use of routinely collected health data to improve health outcomes.

Jo brings to the role, a wealth of experience in leading multi-disciplinary research and of working collaboratively with a wide range of external stakeholders.

She said: “This is about enabling people to get involved with our research and be an active part of it rather than simply showcasing our work. And it’s about identifying the areas of excellence in our research that align with the Ethos of Eden and the ‘place’ of Morecambe.

“I am delighted to have been appointed to this role and look forward to further developing this exciting partnership between researchers across Lancaster University, Eden Project International Ltd, and stakeholders throughout the region.”

Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Enterprise Professor Louise Heathwaite explained: “Eden Project North offers Lancaster University the platform to truly deliver the interdisciplinary and collaborative research we are so proud of in partnership with our many different stakeholders. I warmly welcome Professor Jo Knight as our Director of Research to take us on the next step of this amazing journey.”

Pro-Vice Chancellor for Engagement Professor Dame Sue Black welcomed the announcement.

“Eden North will be a transformational project for the North West region,” she said. “At the core of its success will be our ability to translate opportunity into impactful research and meaningful education. I am delighted that Professor Knight will be joining the team to co-ordinate research developments.”

Jo will take up the role from April 8, 2021

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