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University appoints new Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and International)

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New Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and International), Professor John Bythell.

The University of the South Pacific recently announced the appointment of Professor John Bythell as the University’s new Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and International). Professor Bythell was previously the Director of Research in the School of Biology at Newcastle University, UK. Specializing in coral reef biology, he led the Coral Health and Disease Laboratory at Newcastle, with on-going and recent research programmes in Australia, the Caribbean, Solomon Islands and Thailand. In a statement on his appointment, Professor Bythell expressed enthusiasm for his new position. “I am honoured to be given the opportunity to take on the challenge of directing the research and international portfolio at USP. The trajectory, ethos, international standing and unique resources available as a South Pacific regional centre is all excellent and I have no doubt that the University can achieve its goals of becoming a world-class, research-led university.” Professor Bythell stated that he looks forward to working at USP. His primary research is focussed on molecular microbial ecology of emergent diseases in reef corals and understanding the stress responses of corals to environmental change. He was one of four UK scientists involved in the Coral Reef Targeted Research Programme (GEF/World Bank), as part of the coral Bleaching Working Group. At Newcastle, Professor Bythell acted as theme leader for marine environmental systems research across the university and was involved in the preparations for the UK Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment of research quality. In congratulating the new Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and International), the Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra said, he is confident that Professor Bythell will provide excellent leadership in both areas of research and international, work very collaboratively with the Deans, Director of Research and other members of the University’s Senior Management Team as well as with Research Cluster leaders and other staff to help in the transformation of USP from good to excellence. Professor Chandra also thanked Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning, Teaching and Student Services), Professor Susan Kelly for looking after the research portfolio, the Director of Research at USP, Dr Jito Vanualailai and Professor Frank Larkins who serves as Research Advisor. Among his other accomplishments, Professor Bythell also acts on the UNESCO-Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission ad hoc committee on coral bleaching and is on the Programme Committee of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Sciences Association, Marine Science and Management programme, which manages and distributes research funding across east Africa and the western Indian Ocean on behalf of the Swedish development agency, SIDA.

This news item was published on 24 Apr 2012 02:55:59 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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