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Meet our professors

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Our professors lead our research, ensuring our research has impact on the learning opportunities for all of our students as well as impact on practice.

Our professors are also our leading contributors to new knowledge, working at the forefront of their respective subjects, and drawing on their experience and expertise to develop future generations of research leaders.

We hope you enjoy reading about how they are advancing knowledge.

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Professor Richard Billingham

Professor of Fine Art

Richard Billingham is an award-winning artist, photographer and filmmaker. His work is based on the close observation of everyday life; he has made work about the urban and rural Landscape, the representation of zoo animals and his own family history. Work in public collections includes the Met. New York, The Tate and V & A Galleries London. He recently wrote and directed the BAFTA nominated feature film ‘Ray & Liz’ based on his own lived experience of growing up during the Thatcher Era. He has recently begun working with marginalised people in UK cities.


‘Ray & Liz’ is an Independent feature that uses professional actors to play Billingham’s family members and friends. There was no photography made indoors during Billingham’s childhood and a central aim was to make visual his families marginalised reality during the Thatcher Era. Besides lived experience, the film draws on his zoo and urban landscape work as well as a collection of audio tape recordings Billingham made of friends and family as a boy. Billingham has returned to the subject of his own family history at various stages over the years, seeing and framing it differently each time.

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Professor Ros Jennings

Professor in Aging, Culture and Media

I am Co-Director of the Centre f​or Women Ageing and Media (WAM), leader of the annual WAM International Summer School and Head of Postgraduate Research at the University of Gloucestershire. I have over 20 years’ experience in research degree management and development training for postgraduate students and their supervisors. As Head of Postgraduate Research, I have a key role in developing strategic policy for these areas of University provision. As a self-confessed methods geek I am interested in developing multiple collaborative qualitative approaches to research problems in the area of ageing, old age and media cultures.


Inheritance Tracks is a music driven memory method that I developed from the BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live format to explore the complex and shifting composites of identity in relationship to music (built on relationships to music experienced in the past, remembered in the present and directed toward the future). It examines musical inheritance as part of an intergenerational continuum and has now been rolled out as a research method for ageing studies across Europe and North America as part of my role as a researcher in the Ageing, Communication, Technologies (ACT) project.

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Dr Kenny Lynch

Reader in Geography

Kenny’s research focuses on the relationship between the city and countryside in the developing world where rapidly growing cities interrupt and mix identities, livelihoods, practices and attitudes. His work has focused on urban and peri-urban agriculture, zoonotic disease transmission in rapidly growing cities and sanitation. Kenny has also collaborated with sociologists, criminologists, agricultural economists and clinicians in his work, publishing on housing, restorative justice and markets in the UK. As a National Teaching Fellow, Kenny supports colleagues across the university and beyond in their research development, enhancing writing, promoting research on teaching & learning and organising events, conferences and training.


This project aims to examine the way identities inform knowledge attitudes and practices about waste water and sanitation in and around Hyderabad, India. The project is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the Indian Social Sciences Research Council. It involves collaboration with Cranfield and Bangor Universities in the UK and the University of Hyderabad and the Greater Hyderabad Metropolitan Authority in India. Kenny is responsible for a large survey of residents’ knowledge, attitudes and practices on sanitation.

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Professor Jacqueline Wheatcroft

Professor of Forensic Psychology

Jacqueline is a Chartered Psychologist and Registered Forensic Practitioner. Her research interests lie broadly in the enhancement of information, intelligence and evidence with a focus on process, procedure and questioning techniques. She upholds interdisciplinary research and her latest works have broken new ground. Her research has contributed to the Inns of Court Principles which guide the ways in which children and vulnerable witnesses are cross-examined in court, together with pioneering work on witness familiarisation and forensic interviewing. Jacqueline’s vision is that all witnesses and interviewees can be supported to give of their best evidence, in investigations, interviews and judicial settings worldwide.


Jacqueline’s research on the effects of leading and other forms of questions on accuracy has contributed to the Inns of Court Principles which guide the ways in which children and vulnerable witnesses are cross-examined in court. Research conducted in the area of forensic and investigative interviewing has seen the development of LIP, a witness interview protocol adopted by law enforcement and investigative agencies, used in interviews and post incident management protocols, and by United Nations Experts in investigations. Jacqueline believes that endeavours must be made to a more meaningful understanding of other fields of expertise for research to flourish.

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Professor Frank Chambers

Professor of Physical Geography

Frank heads the University’s Centre for Environmental Change and Quaternary Research (CECQR). His research focuses on peat bogs and lake sediments, using chemical signatures, pollen, plant remains and other microfossils, to reconstruct environmental change and past climates. These methods allow the past pattern of vegetation and climate change to be established, to inform nature conservation and to place current projections for future climate change in long-term perspective. Frank has published over 150 papers in these fields. He is an Associate Editor of international journals, The Holocene, and Biodiversity and Conservation.


This was an EC-funded project, led from CECQR at the University of Gloucestershire. It involved 12 European universities, whose scientists devised field- and laboratory protocols for reconstructing the climate of Europe over the past 4.500 years from peats and lake sediments. Subsequently, using the same protocols in South America, a direct correspondence was found between the timing of past climate shifts in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, 2800 year ago and again during the post-Medieval ‘Little Ice Age’.

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Dr Tamer K Darwish

Reader in Human Resource Management

Tamer Darwish is a Reader in Human Resource Management (HRM), and the Head of HRM Research Centre in the Business School, University of Gloucestershire. He is also an Academic Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. His research interests include strategic HRM, international and comparative HRM, institutions, and organizational performance. He has published in these areas in leading management and HR journals including Human Resource Management, British Journal of Management, and the International Journal of Human Resource Management.


This research centres on the relationship between Human Resource Management, institutional setting, and organisational performance in emerging markets, where institutional arrangements remain fragile and fluid. It aims to examine whether specific combinations of HR practices coalesce together in emerging economies in order to enhance organisational effectiveness, and draw out the broader theoretical and applied implications of this in terms of understanding the nature of institutional coverage and complementarity in developing-world settings. Examples of countries in this study are the UAE, KSA, Jordan, India, Pakistan, China, Brunei, among others.

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Professor Anne Goodenough

Professor of Applied Ecology

Anne’s research focuses on applied ecology: monitoring, managing and conserving species and habitats. She has a particular interest in enhancing ecological surveying through the use of technology. This covers topics as diverse as optimising acoustic monitoring of British bats, surveying African antelope using thermal imaging, using chemical stable isotope analysis to understand bird migration, and harnessing Twitter to understand ecological phenomena such as starling murmurations. She frequently collaborates with external organisations and regularly co-publishes with practitioners and students. She works on many different taxonomic groups, including microbes, plants, insects, arachnids, and mammals, and especially birds, which have always fascinated her.


Every year, a small black-and-white songbird returns to the UK to breed after over-wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. This species, the pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca), is declining but understanding of wintering ecology is lacking. This project involved taking a tiny clipping from a wing feather from UK-breeding birds as part of normal ringing activities. These feathers had been grown in Africa and the African carbon stable isotope chemical signature was “locked in” to these feathers. Analysis showed that birds over-wintering in wetter areas produced substantially more chicks on UK breeding grounds the following spring. This will hopefully help inform African-based conservation.

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Professor Melanie Ilic

Professor of Soviet History

Melani​e has published w​idely in the areas of Soviet wome​n’s history and victim studies of the Great Terror under Stalin. She has edited several volumes of essays relating to these topics, including most recently The Palgrave Handbook of Women and Gender in Twentieth-Century Russia and the Soviet Union (2018).


In her study, Women’s Experiences of 1937: Everyday Legacies on the Purges and the Great Terror in the Soviet Union, (2018), Melanie examines the experiences of repression recounted in a broad selection of Soviet women’s life narratives in primary source documentation. The study shows how the purges had a lifelong impact that reverberated across generations.

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Professor Philip Esler

Portland Chair in New Testament Studies

Philip Esler specialises in the social scientific interpretation of biblical and extra-biblical texts and ancient legal papyri, and in biblical theology and the Bible and the visual arts. He has been Portland Chair in New Testament Studies since September 2013. Prior to his appointment here he had been Professor of Biblical Criticism and the Vice-Principal for Research at the University of St Andrews, Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Principal of St Mary’s University College, Twickenham. His first career was as a solicitor and barrister in Sydney, Australia. He holds a D. Phil and a DD from Oxford University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.


In 2017 Oxford University Press published Philip’s Babatha’s Orchard: The Yadin Papyri and An Ancient Jewish Family Tale Retold. Babatha was a Jewish woman who hid her legal documents in a Dead Sea cave in ad135, where they were found in 1961. In this book, Philip shows that underlying the oldest four documents (written in Nabatean Aramaic) is a remarkable chain of events from ad99 by which Babatha’s father came to buy a date-palm orchard on the Dead Sea shore that he later gave to her. Most ancient sources only focus on elite people and a story like this, of ordinary villagers, is very rare.

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Dr Abigail Gardner

Reader in Music and Media

Abigail writes on music and ageing, music video and music documentary, and produces community film and media. Publications include PJ Harvey and Music Video Performance and Rock On: Women, Ageing and Popular Music. Her current research is for a book on ageing and contemporary female musicians for Routledge.


Abigail’s research centres on the idea of marginality and her written, film and media work interrogates that idea in various ways. Abigail is currently interested in ageing and temporality, particularly in relation to women and ageing across popular music. She is Principal Investigator on two Erasmus + European projects, one on diversity and digital storytelling (, the other on media literacy for refugee, asylum-seeking and migrant women. She has also produced '​In My Own Right', a documentary short on the women who run the Cheltenham Synagogue.

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Professor Arran Stibbe

Professor in Ecological Linguistics

Arran is one of the leading ecolinguists in the world. He is founder of the International Ecolinguistics Association, which has more than 650 members. Arran has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for excellence in teaching.


Arran’s latest research examines global literature in the search for inspiring forms of language to help us reconnect with the natural world. As it becomes increasingly clear that the current stories that industrial society is based on are leading towards inequality and environmental destruction, the task of searching for new stories to live by becomes increasingly urgent. Literature is a key source for these new stories since it provides gateways to other possible worlds.

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Dr Emily Ryall

Reader in Applied Philosophy

Emily has a wide range of research interests – she has written and spoken on the impact of technology on sport, aesthetics of football, the philosophy of play, and critical thinking. She has successfully supervised research students to doctoral level and is currently Research Ethics Chair for the university.


Emily is currently leading a European project on ethics and sports governance with four other European partners. She is working with the world-leading sports dispute resolution service, Sports Resolutions, to develop a compendium of case studies in sports law that will highlight ethical issues and provide a resource for sports practice and governance.

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Dr Philippa Ward

Reader in Services Marketing

With over 25 years of retail and academic experience, Philippa has a range of journal and book publications, over 20 doctoral completions and a similar number of examinations. Her research centres on the effects of the in- store environment on customers, de-shopping, and retail theatre. These areas are also the focus of her doctoral supervisions. This interest in retailing was generated through her management roles within Debenhams and Asda. She also continues to work with a number of retailers, manufacturers and marketing agencies as a consultant. Philippa is also a head of the Marketing and Retail Analysis Research Centre – where research on issues such as consumer behaviour and services marketing is located.

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Professor Neil Towers

Professor of Retail Marketing

With over 35 years of academic and business experience, Neil’s international expertise underpins high-quality applied research and scholarly activity that impact both business performance and knowledge creation. His expertise centres on agile digital retail marketing, fashion supply chain management and small business growth. He has led significant research projects worth over £3.15m in the last four years, focusing on building entrepreneurial capacity in Indonesia and developing a fashion supply chain visibility tool. He was previously director of the George Davies Centre for Retail Excellence (CRE). He is also editor-in-chief of a leading European journal and has a successful ​record of PhD completions and supervision in the areas of retail marketing, business management and supply chain management.

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Professor Kamal Bechkoum

Professor of Computing and Head of School of Business and Technology

Kamal is an experienced senior leader and academic in higher education (HE) with an international background and an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the UK HE sector. Kamal has over 20 years’ experience working in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and its applications to business and industry.


Kamal is interested in research projects related to the application of AI and machine learning to engineering design, cyber security and big data analytics. Examples of some of his PhD students’ projects include ‘Modelling Virtual Characters’ and ‘Implications of Cybercrime in Nepal from the Perspective of Corporate Social Responsibility’.

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Professor Shujun Zhang

Professor of Computing and Technology

Shujun has more than 30 years’ experience of engineering and computing research and teaching in higher education. He has published over 100 academic p​apers, contributed to four books and is currently co-authoring two research books. His main areas of interest include applied computing and innovative product design and development, including bionics engineering.


The health of living organisms is dependent on a cell’s condition and research shows that the more energetically a cell pulses, the healthier it is. This project employs scientific and engineering theories to study the relationship between electromagnetic signals and cell pulsations, with the aim of developing bionic technologies to enhance cell pulsations and, hence, their health.

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Professor Adam Hart

Professor of Science Communication

Adam Hart is an entomologist and the university’s Professor of Science Communication. As well as research and teaching, he is a regular broadcaster for BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service, presenting documentaries on topics from trophy hunting to tree diseases. He has also presented the weekly science program Science in Action for the BBC World Service. On television, Adam has co-presented several documentary series, most notably BBC4’s Planet Ant and BBC2’s Hive Alive.


Every summer across the UK we see millions of winged ants taking to the sky in a spectacular mating event. But what triggers these ants to fly, how coordinated are they across the country and is there really a flying ant ‘day’? With the help of the public, and working in partnership with the Royal Society of Biology, Adam and the research team were able to answer these questions using one of the UK’s largest citizen science projects.

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Professor Mark De Ste Croix

Professor of Paediatric Sport and Exercise

Mark’s interests in children’s sport, physical activity and neuromuscular physiology have culminated in research into injury risk in youth performers. He has published over 100 articles and presented at over 100 conferences across the globe. He works predominantly in football, identifying injury risk via screening and implementing prevention programmes. A key focus of Mark’s work is to help coaches develop their understanding of prevention strategies.


Mark has just led an Erasmus+ European-funded project with partners in Spain and the Czech Republic to explore the knowledge and understanding of grass root coaches in terms of youth injury prevention. He has also obtained funding from FIFA, UEFA and the English FA to explore injury risk in female youth football, and works with organisations such as the England and Wales Cricket Board, Athletic Club Bilbao Football Club and Bristol City Football Club.

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Dr William Large

Reader in Continental Philosophy

William researches in the area of continental philosophy and the philosophy of religion and has published numerous books and articles in this area. He has also been the President of the British Society of Phenomenology​ an​d is on the editorial board of the society’s journal. In 2009, he was elected to the Royal Society of Arts​ for his contribution to philosophy in the UK.


This project offers a broad historical analysis of atheism and a new conceptual definition. It describes three kinds of atheism: atheism of being, atheism of the idea, and atheism of the word. The first is an atheism of a metaphysical order and science; the second an atheism of morality; and the third an atheism of the community and the word. Each atheism comes in an historical sequence but are conceptually distinct. In terms of the traditional divisions of philosophy, the first atheism is ontology, the second is ethical, and the third is aesthetic and political. This historical sequence is not a necessary one, but contingent, and because each atheism is conceptually distinct, they can emerge at any time. The last form of atheism has a political consequence. What binds a community without religion? How do we think politics without transcendence?

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Dr Martin Wynn

Reader in Business Information Systems

Martin Wynn is Reader in Business Information Systems in the School of Business and Technology. He has 20 years experience in industry as an IT professional and senior manager at Glaxo Pharmaceuticals and HP Bulmer Drinks, where he was IT Controller for 10 years. Since his return to academia in 2002, he has focussed on developing knowledge transfer activities and was the academic supervisor on 20 knowledge transfer partnership projects with local industries. This provided the base material for his recently published book University-Industry Technology Transfer in the UK: Emerging Research and Future Opportunities. Other research interests include information systems strategy development, digital transformation, risk management and sustainability. He has successfully supervised 12 doctoral students, is a qualified PRINCE2 Practitioner and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC).


The new digital technologies – Big Data, Analytics, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, Mobile Computing, Social Media, Artificial Intelligence – present SMEs with significant challenges. IT managers have typically gained approval of a hard won IT strategy over the past decade – often based on integrated business software packages and increased use of e-business – but are now bombarded with new technologies and questioned by senior managers about how to best use them for the overall benefit of the company, usually within very tight budgets. Building on existing models in the IT literature, company case studies are used to develop a process based approach to assessing and implementing the new technologies and incorporating these into overall IT strategy.

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