The University of Chichester is delighted to announce that Professor Simeon Keates has been appointed as its new deputy vice-chancellor.
A renowned engineering academic, Professor Keates brings a wealth of leadership experience and research expertise in the field of inclusive design – developing products and services which help elderly people and those with disabilities to live independently.
He is also known widely for his interests in artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, and building robots, which led him to competing in the hit BBC show Robot Wars.
Professor Keates joins from Edinburgh Napier University where he oversaw the growth of its engineering disciplines and built links with industry partners as Dean of its School of Engineering and the Built Environment.
“I am excited and honoured to be joining the University of Chichester,” he said. “It has an ambitious strategy to grow in size, as can be seen by the significant investment in its Tech Park in Bognor Regis, while maintaining its excellent reputation as being a simply great place to study.
“My new role offers a great opportunity to really shape the growth and development of the University. A major part will be to explore the expansion of our STEM provision, especially technology degrees and nursing. I want to ensure that we develop an international outlook and reach while remaining rooted in our local community, as well as building further on our growing reputation for high quality research and innovation.”
The roboticist has previously studied and held positions at the universities of Cambridge, Greenwich, and Abertay Dundee, alongside spells in major overseas organisations at IBM and ITA Software, and at the IT University of Copenhagen.
But it was his appearance on BBC’s Robot Wars with his Trolley Rage machine, made from a recycled supermarket basket, which gave him a platform to develop his passion for encouraging more young people to pursue a career in engineering. It follows an EngineeringUK report that suggests the UK is currently falling short of 55,000 qualified engineers every year.
His other successes include incorporating a life-sized humanoid robot, known as RoboThespian, into the teaching and outreach activities at the University of Greenwich.
Speaking of the importance of training new engineers for the UK’s future, Prof. Keates said: “I am a passionate believer that university is not just three more years of school. A central foundation to our approach has to be to prepare students not just for the jobs of today, but also the jobs of tomorrow. We need to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to prosper in their careers and also to make their mark in the wider world.”
Professor Jane Longmore, the vice-chancellor of the University of Chichester, added: “Simeon brings a wealth of academic and commercial experience from environments as varied as the University of Cambridge, IBM, and the former Department of Trade and Industry.
“We are delighted that he has joined the University of Chichester and will help to transform the outcomes of our engineering and digital technology students as well as develop our plans to provide qualified nurses for the NHS and other healthcare sectors.”