Loughborough appoints new Institute of Advanced Studies Director

Professor Ksenia Chmutina, of the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, has been appointed as the new Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies.

The Professor of Disaster Studies will take over the role from Professor Marsha Meskimmon on 1st February. 

The Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) aims to promote an outstanding, interdisciplinary research environment at Loughborough by supporting collaborations with leading international scholars from other institutions around the world.

It brings high profile globally leading researchers to the campus to collaborate with Loughborough academics, and hosts formal and informal events, including public lectures, research seminars and workshops. 

Professor Chmutina’s academic career makes her a strong successor for the role of IAS Director. She joined Loughborough University in 2011 as a post-doctoral researcher, having trained as a political scientist and then completed a PhD in engineering.

A world leading disaster scholar, her research explores the factors creating disaster risk, drawing in researchers with widely varied types of expertise (from natural sciences and civil engineering to fine arts and linguistics), and bringing together critical theory and applied disaster science to enhance inter- and transdisciplinary disaster research.

She promotes the discipline not only through her academic outputs, but also through popular science communication for lay audiences, such as the Disasters: Deconstructed podcast that she co-hosts with Dr Jason von Meding from the University of Florida, who was an IAS Visiting Fellow in 2021 with the IAS Annual Theme, ‘Time’.  

Professor Chmutina said: “I am extremely honoured and excited to be appointed as Director of the IAS. This role allows me to bring together everything I am so passionate about: challenging the disciplinary norms and boundaries, building and maintaining meaningful collaborations, providing space for conversations and for slow thinking, bringing together people from difference places and spaces.

To me, the IAS is the site of creativity, a laboratory of ideas – and I hope that, building on the amazing foundation that Marsha has laid already, the IAS will attract even more LU academics and international fellows to think disruptively and to grow big ideas”.  

Professor Dan Parsons, Loughborough University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation, said: “I am delighted that Professor Chmutina has agreed to take on this role. Ksenia’s excellent career track record, inter and transdisciplinary background and previous engagements with IAS made her the ideal candidate for the role.

I very much look forward to working with Ksenia in the next phase of IAS and how IAS activities will support the delivery of the University’s ambitious 2030 strategy.”

Outgoing Director Professor Marsha Meskimmon, said: “Professor Chmutina is an excellent appointment to the role of Director of the IAS. Ksenia’s outstanding international and interdisciplinary research record is matched by a deep commitment to discussion, debate and collaboration that is creative and meaningful, as well as to the kinds of ‘blue skies’ thinking that the IAS has come to exemplify. I know that she will steer the Institute well through its next exciting phase.” 

Professor Chmutina will step down from her role as Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering to take up the position, but will retain her role as Special Envoy for East Asia, supporting efforts to develop new relationships and build strategic partnerships across the region.

During her time at Loughborough, Professor Chmutina has hosted multiple IAS Visiting Fellows, including Professor JC Gaillard (University of Auckland), (2016 and 2022), and currently, Professor Scott Knowles (KAIST) and Associate Professor Jacob Remes (New York University), working with Professor Emily Keightley on the topic of Disaster, Memory and Memorials. 

You can also join the IAS Team for a handover between the outgoing and incoming Directors, as well as learn about the IAS, at an Open House event on Friday 26th January, for more information, please see the event page here - https://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/ias/events/2024/january/openhouse/

More information about the IAS can be found on our website.