A Chartered European Engineer with specialisation in Design, Academic Enterprise, Human Communications and Team Building. Research areas include space and resource utilisation, design methods, the product introductory process, technology and knowledge transfer, multi-media for professional communications, partnering, cultural change, action learning, the information superhighway and simulation, which included virtual reality. He was one time managing director of Britain’s first commercial videodisc company and designer of the Menuhin Auditoria in Portsmouth. He was head of two very different university departments, architecture and manufacturing and engineering systems, a Deputy Dean of Technology and Dean of Postgraduate Studies before taking up the first post as Director of Academic Enterprise responsible for Salford University’s “Reach Out” initiatives into industry, commerce, the service industry, the voluntary sector and society at large. He is presently on sabbatical from his last University role as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Enterprise & Regional Affairs) and working on a range of research, development, innovation and academic enterprise projects which emanate from his successful time in Higher Academic Enterprise at Salford University and also as a result of his pioneering ‘Smart City Futures’ conference, held in the Lowry Centre 2009; the latter uniquely involved the local communities and small businesses in a highly interactive mode empowering citizens to undertake key developments in conjunction with the other Greater Manchester Universities. This research and development mainly concerns the leadership, governance and management of university Reach-out to business and the community.
He is also presently developing his notion of ‘Universities for a Modern Renaissance’ for, and with, the Board Members of the PASCAL International Observatory for place management, social capital and learning regions; this idea will be used to focus their developing strategy for university engagement. The notion will also form the basis for a new book he is writing for the publisher Routledge. Other developing projects presently include:
For the past thirty years he has been researching into all aspects of communication and the mid-career education of professionals especially those in the construction industry. He has designed, directed and produced a number of national/European award winning multi-media learning packages. He has also been responsible for developing effective professionals' learning strategy based upon a fourfold model of learning.
He has been Chair of CONTACT – the Collaborator between the four universities of Greater Manchester and of the Innovation Park Steering Committee, the body responsible for a major development of Salford for the Knowledge Economy and ESRC's Cognitive Engineering Panel, EPSRC's Engineering Education and Training Committee. He has also been on EPSRC’s Engineering Board. He was SERC/EPSRC's IT Awareness Coordinator and was charged with developing its Innovative Manufacturing Initiative programme known as "Construction as a Manufacturing Process".
He has published over 200 refereed academic papers, 13 books and has received over £34 million of financial support for his research, developments and information transfer studies. He has an international network of over 30 design and action learning researchers who are brought together to tackle major projects. His explorations include team building and simultaneous engineering for Lucas Industries, the development of Command and Control training simulations for the National Fire Services College and the Metropolitan Police Force, and achieving Cultural Change with busy Chartered Builders. His other recent research studies involve: creating and evaluating a portfolio of virtual reality demonstrators for the construction industry under LINK IDAC; developing an Action Learning programme to empower “cultural change for innovation” in small and medium enterprises. He is a non-Executive Director of USE Ltd and the Excellence North Awards and a Trustee of Salford City Reds Community Foundation NW and the Bayswater Institute.
He was responsible for the Powell Report on Postgraduate Education for SERC which has led to significant changes in such training, especially the development of the Engineering Doctoral and the IGDS programme. This has led him to recent studies concerning the promotion of creativity and innovation in designers. His own creative leadership skills have recently been explored in a recent major study funded by the DTI. He is also co-initiator of Salford's industry driven IGDS programme on IT for construction. . He is currently a member of EPSRC/ESRC's Link programme linking People and ICT.
He developed the CIOB's strategy for research and was part of its OSTEM expert mission to Japan. He is a recent former Chair of the North West Enterprise Forum. He is undertaking a major project with Brazilian partners to improve construction in that country. He recently led the £2 million NWDA project, known as ‘Bouncing Higher’, which ensure higher wealth creation through innovation of the small enterprises in the north of the UK. He co-ordinated the European Universities Associations major programme exploring the relationships between universities and their creative city-regions. He is presently on the Board of the PASCAL international Observatory for ‘place management, social capital and learning regions, where he is leading their ‘PASCAL Universities for a Modern Renaissance’ programme. He is a Director of Community Finance Solutions – a university community enterprise helping the developments of ‘community banks’ and ‘affordable housing’ using Community Land Trusts. Finally, he was a recent a member of the Regional Assembly's Knowledge Economy Priority Group.
He was a member of the HEFCE’s Business and Community Committee and with their support led a consortium of five British Universities benchmarking themselves against the five best enterprise Universities in the rest of Europe with a view to developing ‘performance metrics and drivers’ for University Third Stream activity, known as UPBEAT – www.upbeat.eu.com. This has led to a pioneering way of structuring staff development for university academics to improve the levels and qualities of their engagement with business and the community. Using this approach he has increased the income to his own university per annum to around £15 million, ,with a considerable contribution of funding for new project/process development, mainly in community and social enterprise developments. He has recently been appointed an Ambassador for Social Entrepreneurship in Higher Education by HEFCE/UnLtd.
His major prizes and awards are: Taylor Woodrow Prize, 1967; British Interactive Multi Media Award, 1978; European Multi Media Award, 1979; Artificial Intelligence in Learning Award, 1983; Bangermann IT Challenge for SMEs (British Best), 1990; Queen’s Award for Higher and Further Education (Construct IT), 1999; Shell LIVEWire North West Enterprise Award, 2001; North West Excellence Award for Innovative Excellence, 2002.
On the 15th June 1996, in the Queen's Birthday Honours list, he was awarded the OBE for "services to science and to engineering research and education".
For more a more detailed curriculum vitae please access: http://www.ae.salford.ac.uk/JamesPowell/forum/information.php
- A Research and Development Grant of £150,000 from Manchester Innovation Fund, to develop the Smart City Futures International Conference with associated legacy web site with key components in regeneration through community empowerment and the development of affordable housing, the Lowry Centre, July 2009
- A Research and Development Grant of £30,000 from the Salford Strategic Partnership, to work with Kandu Arts to develop a Video and associated community engagement strategies for regeneration through innovation in Salford, January – May 2009
- A Fellowship Grant of £650 from the Foundation for Canadian Studies in the United Kingdom, as part of their Canada/UK University Partnerships Program (CUUPP,) to undertake Collaborative Research with both the University of Victoria (contact: Professor Budd Hall) and University of British Columbia (contact: Professor Hans Schuetze) developing case studies of best practices of joint interest, especially around the leadership, governance and management of university Reach-out to business and the community, including aspect of the impact of construction R&D in Canada. Awarded in December 2009 for a project in early 2010
- ‘Preparation and implementation of pilot projects concerning postgraduate education for impact in business and industry for the Czech Republic, including the construction industry, using a foreign-based models of a Knowledge Transfer Programmes such at the KTP, Case Studentships and the Engineering Doctorate’. Research and Development Award by the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Czech Republic, of £150,000 of grant to Salford University and a supplementary fund of 1 million euros to implement and evaluate the developed post-graduate programmes of knowledge transfer for innovation, July 2009 until 2012. This programme builds on the knowledge of the postgraduate research education implementation by James Powell and especially his deep awareness of UK and global knowledge transfer programmes which result in improved exploitation of research & development or innovation for impact
James A Powell, Bowmaker, J., Higson, A. (2009), SMART CITY FUTURES - Showcase Prospectus, pages 70, published by Academic Enterprise, University of Salford, July 2009 ISBN 978-1-905732-77-77
James A Powell and Wainwright, C., (2009), Universities for a Modern Renaissance, pages 55, published jointly by the Institute of the Arts London and the University of Salford, July 2009 ISBN 978-1-905732-77-0
Recent Chapter in New book
James A Powell (2010), ‘UNIVERSITY KNOWLEDGE THROUGH KNOWLEDGE SHARING - UPBEAT: University Engagement through Virtuous Knowledge Sharing and Academic Staff Development’, in Handbook of Engaged Scholarship: Contemporary Landscapes, Future Directions. Vol. 1: Institutional Change. Eds: Fitzgerald, H. E., Burack, C., & Seifer, S. Michigan State University Press. East Lansing, MI, USA. Pages 1-29 (2010)
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