Members of the Academy are drawn from across the whole European continent and include fifty-two Nobel Laureates

Exeter academics elected to the Academia Europaea

Exeter academics in both the Arts and Sciences have been honoured with election to the prestigious Academia Europaea.

Professor Nick Talbot of Biosciences and English scholars Professor Gabriella Giannachi and Professor Regenia Gagnier have been invited to become members of the Academy, which aims to promote learning, education and research.

Invitations are made only after peer group nomination, scrutiny and confirmation as to the scholarship and eminence of the individual in their chosen field.

Members are drawn from across the whole European continent and include fifty-two Nobel Laureates, several of whom were elected to the Academia before they received the prize.

University of Exeter Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Professor Sir Steve Smith said:“I am absolutely delighted that Gabriella, Nick and Regenia have been awarded this fantastic honour, which is a testament to the dedication, commitment and sheer hard work that they display in their respective fields of research. At the University of Exeter, we pride ourselves on our thriving research environment and we are very grateful to all three for the personal contributions that they make to it.”

Professor Talbot is one of eight scholars in Europe elected in the field of Translational Biology. He is distinguished for his role in determining the mechanisms by which fungi cause disease in plants.

His discoveries have led to new insights into fungal developmental biology, cellular differentiation and, in particular, how fungi have evolved the capacity to cause some of the most important crop diseases. His joining the Academy comes after being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) earlier this year.

Professor Talbot said: “I am very honoured to have been elected to the Academia Europaea. I am also extremely pleased to see three Exeter academics from very diverse disciplines in this year’s list of new Members.  It is a sign of the progress we are making as an institution in all areas, from the Arts and Humanities to the Experimental Sciences.  Exeter is clearly emerging as a leading centre for Research in Europe”

Professors Giannachi and Gagnier have been elected as members in Literary and Theatrical Studies. Gabriella Giannachi is Professor in Performance and New Media, and Director of the Centre for Intermedia at the University of Exeter, which promotes advanced interdisciplinary research in performance and the arts. Over the past five years she has been researching projects in partnership with organisations including Tate, Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter City FC Supporters Trust, the Imperial War Museum and the Stanford Libraries.

Commenting on her election, Professor Giannachi  said:  "I am touched by the honour and grateful for the opportunity offered to me by the Academia Europaea.  My own field of study is interdisciplinary and collaborative, particularly with artists, museums and computer scientists. One of the greatest benefits of the membership is the opportunity to share practices with outstanding scholars from all disciplines."

Regenia Gagnier is Professor of English; Senior Research Fellow in Egenis, Centre for the Study of Life Sciences; and Editor of Literature Compass’s Global Circulation Project. Her current research is on the global circulation of the literatures of liberalization. In 2006, she was made Honorary Centenary Fellow of the English Association, in 2008 elected to the Royal Society of Arts, in 2011 elected to the International Association of University Professors of English, and in 2012 received by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for heritage and scholarship in literature and theatre. In 2012, she was the Macgeorge Fellow at the University of Melbourne and in 2014 Visiting Professor at the University of Delhi.  She was President of the British Association for Victorian Studies 2009-12.

She said of her election: “I was actually first informed of this honour by colleagues in China, who reached me even more quickly than the letter from Academia Europaea. It bodes well for our international communication. I’m delighted and grateful and look forward to getting involved.”

The University of Exeter has three existing members of the Academy, Professor David Stephenson of Mathematics, Professor Kevin Gaston of the Environment & Sustainability Institute (ESI) and Professor Barbara Borg of Classics.

Date: 1 September 2014

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