Professor Jane Hillston appointed to be the College’s Dean of Research Culture and REF.

[13/12/2023] Jane Hillston, professor of Quantitative Modelling and former Head of the School of Informatics will begin her new role as the College’s Dean of Research Culture and REF from the beginning of 2024.

photo of a smiling grey-haired woman
Professor Jane Hillston

Jane currently chairs the Executive Committee of the UKCRC (UK Computing Research Committee) and is a member of the Informatics Europe working group on Women in Informatics Research and Education.  


Our former Head of School holds a BA in Mathematics from the University of York, an MSc in Mathematics from Lehigh University and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh. She is known for her work on stochastic process algebras. In particular, she has developed the PEPA process algebra, and helped develop Bio-PEPA, which is based on the earlier PEPA algebra and is specifically aimed at analysing biochemical networks. In 2004, she received the first Roger Needham Award at the Royal Society in London awarded yearly for a distinguished research contributor in computer research by a UK-based researcher within ten years of their PhD.   

In March 2007 she was elected to the fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and in 2018, to the membership of the Academia Europaea. She is the recipient of the Suffrage Science Award for Computer Science and the RSE Lord Kelvin Medal. In 2022 she was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, one of only five female fellows whose research falls into broad computer science or computational sciences fields.  

Additionally, Jane has become the first person to receive the three top awards from the British Computer Society – the Needham Award, the Distinguished Dissertation Award and recently the Lovelace Research Medal. 

Dean of Research Culture and REF 

The Dean of Research Culture and REF plays a pivotal role within the College of Science and Engineering, focusing on the enhancement of research culture and fulfilling responsibilities related to the College’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) submissions. This role aims to balance the fostering of an inclusive, collegial, and responsible research environment, including effective monitoring and reporting, with the strategic imperatives of the REF. 

The Dean is tasked with a wide spectrum of duties, ranging from strategic planning and compliance to career development and training initiatives for research staff. The role not only entails overseeing the implementation and encouragement of actions designated to the Dean of Research, but also shaping of the culture and practices of research and its delivery within the College. In addition, Jane will be responsible for collaborating with Schools and interdisciplinary institutes/centres, fostering a positive research culture, and maximizing its development, implementation and reporting.