Sunday, May 19, 2024

University of Lincoln appoints Founding Director for new research centre

Professor Fiona Strens has been appointed as the Founding Director of a new University of Lincoln research centre focused on innovations in the use of artificial intelligence and technology in security and defence.

She’ll join the University of Lincoln in next month from the University of Strathclyde, where she is currently Professor of Practice in Security and Resilience.

With more than 30 years’ experience in government, industry and academia, she is one of the UK’s thought leaders in the application of novel technology, including AI, automation, machine learning and computer vision for enhancing security and building resilience.

Professor Strens began her career in the Ministry of Defence after graduating with a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge, undertaking several technical and policy roles before becoming a Senior Civil Servant with responsibility for science and technology policy.

After moving into  consultancy for clients in the national security sector, she co-founded and served as CEO of CrowdVision, an innovative computer vision  and analytics company, growing the company from start-up to an international business providing real-time people movement data for the safe, secure and efficient operation of major events, airports and venues.

She is an advocate of science and technology skills and careers, serves as an adviser to UK Government. and is a non-executive director for Ordnance Survey, the UK’s geospatial authority, and Corps Security, a profit-for-purpose social enterprise supporting veterans’ charities.

She said: “The University of Lincoln has a well-earned reputation for its approach to industry-aligned research, for supporting innovative organisations and partnering nationally and locally to deliver impact and drive growth in the Greater Lincolnshire region. The University has expertise in a range of disciplines essential for advancing defence, security and resilience capabilities. I am particularly excited by the potential to build on the University’s strong AI foundations.

“These qualities attracted me to the University and this exciting new position as Founding Director of the Centre for Defence and Security Artificial Intelligence. I look forward to meeting colleagues and partners as we establish this significant new centre for academic, industry and government collaboration.”

Major General (Retd) Julian Free CBE, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Lincoln, said: “The appointment of Professor Fiona Strens as Founding Director of the new Centre for Defence and Security Artificial Intelligence is testament not just to the existing specialisms and partnerships in Lincoln and Greater Lincolnshire but the potential to grow the technical capabilities which keep people and infrastructure safe and underpin tens of thousands of jobs in the future.

“The CDSAI will address challenges in all areas of national security, including building security and resilience in multiple sectors, such as food and energy, and supporting effective strategic, operational and crisis decision-making in the defence sector and beyond.  Professor Strens brings a remarkable range of expertise and experiences across the public and private sectors, which can help the CDSAI play a significant role in solving complex challenges facing governments and businesses in the 21st Century.”

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