BLG DRC Director Professor Maria Fasli (pictured) will become Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Health at the University of Essex from August 2019.
The appointment has been confirmed by the University’s Council and, in August 2019, Professor Fasli will succeed Professor Graham Underwood, joining the executive leadership team and providing strategic leadership for the Faculty of Science and Health.
Professor Fasli is recognised as a leader in the field of artificial intelligence and is the Director of the Institute for Analytics and Data Science and Director of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Business and Local Government Data Research Centre. She has worked at Essex since 1999.
She is the first academic in the world to be awarded the prestigious UNESCO Chair in Analytics and Data Science, which seeks to promote globally the better use of data to promote equality and sustainable development.
She said: “This is an incredibly exciting period for our Faculty and I am looking forward to building on the work of our existing Executive Dean Professor Graham Underwood. We have world-class researchers at Essex tackling issues absolutely central to the future of our world from food security and genetics through to health and artificial intelligence. Importantly we’re working with businesses, local authorities, health trusts, charities and governments more and more to put that research into action.
“At Essex, we’re also absolutely committed to linking our research directly to the educational experience of our students and I think this offers us incredible opportunities to think creatively and innovate.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “Maria has an international reputation as a computer scientist, and her appointment as the world’s first UNESCO Chair in Analytics and Data Science is a testament to her global standing. Maria is absolutely committed to supporting excellence in education and her work has been recognised as a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellow. I am absolutely delighted Maria will be our next Executive Dean of Science and Health, succeeding Graham Underwood in August 2019.”
Professor Fasli’s research interests lie in artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and modelling structured/unstructured data, and she has published over 130 papers in the field of AI and data science. She has led, managed and contributed a number of industrial and Research Council funded research projects, worth over £8.5m, and supervised 19 PhD students.
She was educated in Greece where she completed her BSc in Computer Science and then obtained her PhD in Computer Science from Essex. She has held various positions at Essex since 1999 and was Head of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE) between 2009-2014. In 2005, she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy for her novel approaches to education and supporting the student experience.