Category Archives: People

Fernado Otero

Fernando Otero appointed Deputy Head of School of Computing (Medway)

Dr Fernando Otero has been appointed as the new Deputy Head of School (Medway), with immediate effect. Fernando has been a lecturer in the School for six years, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer this year. He gained his PhD at Kent and previously worked as a Research Associate so has long experience of the University and the School.

Head of School, Professor Richard Jones said, ‘Fernando impressed us greatly with his vision for the future of the School of Computing in Medway. He will join the School’s Core Management Team and I very much look forward  to working closely with him.’

Fernando is a member of the Data Science and Computational Intelligence Groups and his research interests include data mining and knowledge discovery, bio-inspired algorithms, the application of data mining algorithms in bioinformatics and financial forecasting, and big data.

Fernando has also recently secured funding for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with London-based fintech start-up Youtility to enhance user experience using machine learning models. He also leads Computing’s outreach activities to schools and colleges.


School of Computing welcomes Daniel Soria as Lecturer

Dr Daniel Soria has joined the University of Kent as a Lecturer in the School of Computing. Daniel will be a member of the Data Science Research Group and will be based at the Medway campus.

Daniel joins Kent from the University of Westminster in London, where he was a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science, member of the Health and Social Care Modelling Research Group and an associate member of the interdisciplinary Cancer Research Group. Previously, he worked for over ten years at the University of Nottingham, where he was part of the School of Computer Science and the Advanced Data Analysis Centre. He started there studying for his PhD as a Marie-Curie Fellow and progressed in his academic career to become an Assistant Professor.

Dr Soria’s research interests lay in the multi-disciplinary area of applied computer science for real-word applications, especially in biomedical domains. He has expertise in data mining and machine learning applications, from pattern identification to supervised learning. Dr Soria’s contributions to knowledge appeared to be of great interest in October 2013, when part of his work on breast cancer was the subject of extensive national media coverage (see, for example, BBC News, ITV,Sky News), and more recently during the Brexit referendum campaign, when a case study from his research was published as part of the Universities for Europe manifesto.

Daniel has published numerous articles in high quality international peer-reviewed journals such as Knowledge-Based Systems, Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, and IEEE Transactions in Medical Imaging. The multidisciplinary nature of his research allowed Daniel to also publish in prestigious medical journals like Cancer Research, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, British Journal of Cancer, and others. Daniel’s research has also appeared in international conference proceedings such as the IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (WCCI), the International Conference on Machine Learning and Applications (ICMLA), and the IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy Systems (FUZZ-IEEE). He has been a member of the technical program committee for conferences such as the International Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology (ICBEB) and the IEEE International Conference on Smart Data (SmartData).

Daniel completed a PhD in Computer Science (specialising in supervised and unsupervised learning in biomedical domains) at the University of Nottingham, and holds an MSci in Applied Mathematics from the University of Milan, Italy.

Daniel said “I’m very excited to be joining the School of Computing at Kent, and adding to the very strong team of academics already focusing on data science. My research in this area will sit very well within the group as well as in the newly formed Kent and Medway Medical School. I can’t wait to start to collaborate with the talented people already working there”.

Graeme A Forbes

Staff member’s role in ‘best Edinburgh Fringe show

Lecturer in Philosophy Dr Graeme A. Forbes has supported theatre company Theatre Re by acting as philosophy consultant for their recent production of BIRTH, which has been named Best Theatre Show of the Edinburgh Fringe by Theatre Weekly. The publication described the show as “one of the most beautiful and accomplished pieces of theatre to be staged at the Fringe”.

BIRTH is the story of Sue, Katherine and Emily, three generations of women from the same family whose lives are part of an invisible web they help to weave. It traces their journey of self-discovery, acceptance and hope. In staging the production, the company explored the idea of secrets in families, unearthing the parallels between our own lives and the lives of our parents and grandparents, and engaged with women and families who have experienced pregnancy loss. The collaboration with Graeme allowed the cast to explore questions such as ‘what is being passed down from one generation to the next’ and ‘when does memory begin’?

‘Pregnancy loss is experienced by a great number of women. What the parents go through is rarely discussed and often considered taboo. It is part of the realm of the ‘unspoken’, or the ‘unvoiced’. It is buried.’ describes Theatre Re’s website.

‘It was a privilege to work with this exceptional creative team,’ said Graeme; ‘I’m incredibly glad I had the opportunity to work with them. It was immensely rewarding to see how our conversations — about the passage of time, and how even when we repeat a pattern each moment in our lives is specific to us — got woven into the show. I’m so pleased that all their hard work has been recognised, and I’m sure they will have a very successful tour.’

Dr Alvise Sforza

Alvise Sforza Tarabochia on alienation, languages and Brexit

Dr Alvise Sforza Tarabochia, Head of the Department of Modern Languages, was interviewed on the Italian regional TV channel Telequattro on Monday 26 August, as part of the ‘Trieste in Diretta’ programme.

Alvise spoke about his my new edited book, The Years of Alienation (Palgrave, 2019) as well as about modern languages, and living as a foreigner in pre-Brexit Britain.

In discussing alienation, the interviewer asked about the features of architecture favouring alienation. Alvise responded: “The wall, the wall is the architectural symbol of any alienation, any separation, any marginalisation.” This was in reference to a recent proposal by the governor of the Trieste region to build a wall between Italy and Slovenia to address perceived issues of migration from Slovenia into Italy.

A recording of the interview (in Italian) is available online. Alvise appears at approx. 33:45.

Directors of Division and divisional Directors of Operations: Update

We are currently recruiting for our new Directors of Division and divisional Directors of Operations roles. As part of this, we recently held briefing sessions for prospective candidates offering more detail on the recruitment process.

For those unable to attend the briefing session for the divisional Director of Operations, the presentation slides and FAQs from the session are now available on the recruitment page here:

In addition, the FAQs for the Director of Division roles have been updated to provide clarity around research or academic contributions within the role. More information on this and the role itself is available here:

Dr Richard Guest

New Home Office role for cyber security expert

Dr Richard Guest of the School of Engineering and Digital Arts and core member of the Kent Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Cyber Security has been selected to join the UK Home Office’s Biometric and Forensics Ethics Group.

Appointed by the Home Secretary, Richard Guest will join the independent group of leading multidisciplinary experts to provides advice and guidance to ministers and government on issues of biometric and forensic data use and systems implementation, such as the use of facial recognition technology.

Richard Guest’s appointment builds on the success of biometric research at Kent within current projects such as the AMBER Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network, the Hummingbird interdisciplinary project and collaborations with organisations such as the UK National Cyber Security Centre.

Clearing call centre

Thank you!

Thank you to the hundreds of staff who took the time yesterday to call the Clearing hotline to help with the stress testing needed to ensure that we were fully functional in time for this morning’s Clearing activities.

Although we offer our applicants a web-first approach, we receive calls to the hotline not just from applicants, but from prospective students asking about a wide range of issues ,from grade outcomes to accommodation, and from those wanting reassurance about their offer of a place.

Thanks to the efforts of staff, and those of the specialist teams in EMS, IS and Estates, we opened the hotline at 07.00 today (Thursday 15 August) confident that it would be able to handle the volume of calls we are expecting.

A special thanks also to the hotline operators, a team of 60 students, for all their hard work in testing the hotline.

Kasia Senyszyn

PhD student Kasia Senyszyn writes on accessible theatre for The Stage

Kasia Senyszyn, who is studying for a PhD in Drama by Research in the School of Arts, supported by the Alumni Postgraduate Research Scholarship, has just contributed an opinion piece for The Stage on making theatre inclusive.

Established in 1880, The Stage is a British weekly newspaper for the entertainment industry, with a particular focus on theatre.

In her article, entitled ‘It’s Time For Action, Not Excuses, On Inclusive Theatre’, Kasia argues for the need for theatres to make their shows more accessible and inclusive.

‘Tagging things as ‘accessible’ in a programme also implies only that work is accessible to everyone, which is often not the case,’ she argues in the piece. ‘For example, dance is often accessible for D/deaf people. A poetry reading is often accessible for visually impaired people. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need to tag something as ‘accessible’ because everything would be. For now, I suppose, we need it. But in reality, it’s just about being more explicit about what our work includes.’

However, drawing on her PhD research, Kasia makes suggestions for changes that theatres can easily make. ‘There are real things that theatre companies can do, even those on a budget like many at the [Edinburgh] fringe. A projector and PowerPoint can be used to do captions in your show. YouTube can add automatic captions to videos… An audio brochure or programme can be done with you recording the written material yourself on SoundCloud.’

Kasia is artistic director of the Parrot Theatre Company, which will be performing an accessible version of Mark Wilson’s play Talk at the Edinburgh Festival from Sunday 11 August until Saturday 17 August 2019. For details of these performances, please see the page here.

To read the full piece, please see The Stage site here.

New academic division leadership roles: appointment process

As part of the process to reorganise our schools into seven large academic divisions, we will shortly start work on recruitment to the Director of Division and Divisional Director of Operations roles. More details on the recruitment process for these are outlined below.

Directors of Division

An internal advert for this will go live on Monday 5 August, with external leadership consultancy Wickland-Westcott supporting us with the assessment process. The key selection and assessment dates are outlined below:

  • 5 August: Job advert live
  • 26 August: Closing date for applications
  • 27-29 August; 2-5 & 10 September: Initial telephone interviews with Wickland-Westcott
  • 17 September: Shortlisting meeting
  • 18-22 September: Shortlisted candidates to complete pyschometric tests
  • 23-25 & 30 September; 2 October: Assessment centres (case study and interview) run by Wickland-Westcott
  • Mid-end October: Final panel interviews and stakeholder presentations

If you wish to find out more about the assessment process and what will be involved, Wickland–Westcott will be on campus holding briefing sessions on the following days / times:

  • 1 August, 13.30 – 14.30 – Darwin Boardroom
  • 6 August 12.30 – 13.30 – Darwin Boardroom

For those unable to make these briefing sessions, a Q&A document will be made available on the Organising for Success webpages shortly afterwards.

A reminder of the new academic divisions can be found on the Organising for Success webpages.

Divisional Directors of Operations

Recruitment to these roles will also be for internal candidates only, with the assessment process managed by external consultancy Minerva. The advert is expected to go live on Monday 12 August, with more details to follow on the selection process.

Professor Karen Cox

Interim DVCs: appointment process

Message from the Vice-Chancellor

Recent announcements stated that we would be seeking to make interim appointments to cover two DVC positions until the outcome of open recruitment processes.

We are looking at external and internal options for these roles in this period and I am now writing to invite colleagues who may have the relevant skills and experience to make formal expressions of interest in the following interim roles:

DVC Academic Strategy, Planning & Performance

This will be a new role with the post holder providing leadership on, and implementing structural frameworks for, a broad range of institutional planning and horizon scanning activities. This will help ensure that Kent is well-placed to respond to sectoral changes and provide an outstanding student-centred experience.

The DVC Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance will also develop frameworks to support the delivery of academic and research excellence in our new school groupings. The key accountable areas for this role will include strategy and planning, as well as academic leadership, working closely with the emerging school groups and their leadership teams, to ensure that Kent maintains a competitive offering to students.

A full job description is available here

DVC Education & Student Experience

The post holder will be responsible for the University’s continued excellence in student experience and will be accountable for developing and delivering further innovations in educational programmes.

The interim DVC Education and Student Experience will work across the University to implement new strategies and impact our education offer alongside student support.  The role holder will ensure that our educational programmes are relevant for the graduates of the future, and of an excellent standard; that student needs are met both curricular and co-curricular dimensions and that we are working towards our ambition of offering one of the best student experiences in the UK.

A full job description is available here

Both positions will be interim until appointments are made following open recruitment processes and offer an excellent opportunity to step up into a more senior role and take on a new challenge which will play a key part in shaping these roles for the future.

Should you wish to express interest in either or both of these interim appointments please provide an up-to-date CV, together with a covering letter setting out how you feel you would contribute in the role to

Please note that the closing date is 12 noon on Friday 30 August 2019.  Interviews will be held on Tuesday 10 September (DVC Education and Student Experience) and Friday 13 September (DVC Academic Strategy, Planning and Performance).

If you would like to have an informal, confidential conversation about either post, then please feel free to email me or Ruth Johnson, so that a suitable date / time can be arranged.