All Harkness Stories


Dr Edwina Moreton »   Sara Nathan »   David Soskin »   David Walker »   Tom Hayhoe »   Professor Mark Mayer »   Dr Nigel Croft »   John Sturrock »   The Rt. Hon. Sir Rabinder Singh »   Alan Rosling »   Dr Jennifer Dixon »   Baroness Julia Neuberger »  

 

Dr Edwina Moreton (HF 1976-78) OBE was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for International Studies, MIT, collaborating on projects and publications at both MIT and Harvard on European security and east-west relations. Among many other things, she also learned how to calculate the kill probability of a ballistic missile re-entry vehicle on her (ladies’) slide-rule. Her Harkness Fellowship built on a BA in German and Russian (Bradford), an MSc in Political Science (Strathclyde) and a PhD on Soviet Studies (Glasgow). On her return to the UK she taught at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, before joining The Economist, where she worked for 30 years. As the paper’s Diplomatic Editor, she wrote on a wide range of security issues, from arms control, non-proliferation, trans-Atlantic relations and Asian security, to the UN, international justice and human rights. Boards and councils served on have included the UK Know-How Fund, Chatham House, the IISS and Wilton Park. She was made OBE by Queen Elizabeth and holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Birmingham. She is currently an Associate Fellow of Chatham House, a trustee and director of VERTIC, an advisory council member of the McDonald Centre, Oxford, and serves on the European Advisory Group of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She will serve as Master of the Worshipful Company of World Traders, City of London, 2018-19.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Sara Nathan (HF1977-79) OBE went straight to Stanford University the term after graduating in History from New Hall, Cambridge, the only woman awarded a fellowship in 1977.  Her first year studying for an MA in History showed her that she was going to be the world’s worst academic historian. In the second year, she studied Broadcast Communication – unavailable in the UK then. This persuaded the BBC to employ her as a News Trainee in 1980. She progressed to roles as a producer in the TV newsroom, output editor for Breakfast and Newsnight, and film-maker for the Money Programme. She helped launch Radio 5Live, becoming the Editor of the morning programme.  Meanwhile, she had crashed a Harkness reunion gathering and met Malcolm Singer (HF 1980-82). They married in 1984, have two grown-up children and nearly a grandson.  In 1995, she was appointed Editor, Channel 4 News: the first woman to edit a network news programme.  In 1998, Sara left daily news and went plural, filling up to six part-time roles at a time including some journalism. She has been on a number of boards including Ofcom, the Judicial Appointments Commission and the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority.  She now chairs tribunals for the Nursing & Midwifery Council, is a Senior Hearings Manager back at the BBC and, most often, a trustee, host and volunteer with Refugees At Home: a charity she co-founded in 2015 to match destitute asylum-seekers and refugees with generous hosts who have spare rooms.
Published on: 13th March 2019

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David Soskin (HF 1977-79) was from an early age interested in a business career. Following a First Class Honours degree in Modern History from Magdalen College, Oxford, and a stint at an American commercial bank, he was awarded a Fellowship to study at the Harvard Business School. In 1984, after several years as management consultant, David was appointed Director of Corporate Planning for Redland PLC, a FTSE 100 company. In 1989, he left to start his first entrepreneurial venture, Asquith Court Schools which became the UK’s largest independent nursery school company. In 2000, David led a management buy-in of Cheapflights, the first travel flight price comparison business website and spent eight years as CEO and another six as a board member during which time Cheapflights purchased Momondo and became one of the world’s largest travel search companies. In 2017, Cheapflights/Momondo was acquired by the Bookings Holdings (Priceline). In 2006 David co-founded HOWZAT Partners, a Venture Capital company which invests in early- stage digital businesses globally. It has a portfolio of sixty companies. David took time out of his commercial career to work for the Prime Minister in the Number 10 Policy Unit where he advised John Major on law and order and welfare policies. David retains his interest in politics and supported the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum. David’s philanthropic activities include his support for City Year, a leading youth and education charity, the Chichester Festival Theatre and the American Civil War Trust where he is a Regimental Color Bearer.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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David Walker (HF 1977-79) was senior reporter for The Times Higher Education Supplement when he applied for a Harkness Fellowship, in 1977 — a decision precipitated by voters in the Holborn ward who chose not to favour his candidacy for Camden Council. Interested in lobbying, and the influence of professional associations on public policymaking, as an HF David joined the Congressional Fellowship program, and spent wonderful nine months in Washington DC, working in both the House and Senate as a staffer. The second half of his fellowship was spent at the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley where he began work on what became Media Made in California, cowritten with Jeremy Tunstall and published by Oxford in 1981. On his return, just after the May 1979 election, David joined the staff of The Economist and pursued a career in journalism, for The Times, The Independent, the BBC and the Guardian, returning to Berkeley for a sabbatical and feeding insights from his time in Congress into Sources Close to the Prime Minister (with Peter Hennessy, 1984) and The Times Guide to the New British State (1995). David left journalism to become managing director, public reporting at the Audit Commission and is now deputy chair of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, chair of Understanding Society, a member of the ethics and governance council of UK Biobank and co author with Polly Toynbee of Unjust Rewards, The Verdict and Dismembered.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Tom Hayhoe (HF 1978-80) is chairman at West London Mental Health NHS Trust which, as well as providing mental health services in west London, operates Broadmoor Hospital. Prior this appointment he served as chairman of West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust. He attended Stanford Graduate School of Business as a Harkness Fellow, following a year as President of Cambridge Students Union. On returning from his Harkness Fellowship he worked for McKinsey & Company and then WH Smith before establishing the Brackenbury Group retail consultancy (subsequently The Chambers) and chairing the board of Gamestation, at the time the UK’s second largest video game retailer. During his MBA studies he took a course in health economics and policy which lead to him helping develop the health and social care policies of the Social Democratic Party (for whom he stood for parliament in the 1987 general election), taking a series of non-executive roles in the NHS starting in 1985, and ultimately being appointed to his current role. Tom is a keen offshore sailor and a former vice commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club. He is a trustee and chair of the finance committee of Arthritis Research UK.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Professor Mark Mayer (HF 1980-82) chose a Fellowship which allowed him to train in laboratories in the US that were using techniques in ion channel biophysics not widely available in the UK. Most importantly, the Fellowship gave him the freedom to choose the laboratories that hosted him and to move between labs as his experience grew. As a result, he acquired new skills, leading to a series of studies that he pursued for the rest of his career and to his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society. Mark’s career focused on analysis of excitatory neurotransmitter receptors in the brain, initially using electrophysiological techniques, with which he discovered that NMDA receptors were calcium permeable ion channels, flux through which varied with membrane potential due to block by extracellular Magnesium. This mechanism forms a coincidence detector that acts as a gate triggering synaptic plasticity. Later he used X-ray diffraction and cryo-electron microscopy to study the structure of glutamate receptors, establishing mechanisms for subtype selective binding of ligands, allosteric modulation, and how desensitization occurs. This work furthers our understanding of a wide range of neurological disorders. Finding limited biomedical research funding opportunities in the UK on his return to London in 1982 led to Mark joining the brain drain and moving to the NIH.  Subsequent emergence of the Wellcome Trust changed this, but by then he felt it was too disruptive to return home. Today, the UK is a vibrant place for biomedical research, and Mark often visits for academic collaborations.
Published on: 29th October 2019

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Dr Nigel Croft (HF 1981-82) is a world authority on quality management. After receiving his PhD in metallurgy from Sheffield University, Nigel spent his Harkness Fellowship conducting post-doctoral research at UC Berkeley, marking the beginning of his transformation from a “South Yorkshire lad” to a “Citizen of the world”. After completing his fellowship, he married Naila Diniz (also a PhD metallurgist) and emigrated to Brazil, becoming a Brazilian citizen in 1999. Over the years, Nigel has been actively involved in a range of global quality and sustainability initiatives, and from 2010 to 2018 he chaired the ISO technical subcommittee responsible for the ISO 9001 quality management standard. He has served as non-executive board member of a number of organizations around the world, including the Chartered Quality Institute (London), Social Accountability Accreditation Services (New York), and Fairtrade International’s certification body (FLOCERT) in Bonn. He is a consultant for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and Adjunct Professor of Quality Management at the University of Northern Malaysia. Nigel’s links with the US and the UK continue to be strong – in 2017 he was awarded the American Society for Quality’s Freund-Marquardt medal, “For his passion, dedication and leadership in the application of quality management” and in 2018 an Honorary (“Lifetime Achievement”) Award from the Chartered Quality Institute  
Published on: 18th April 2019

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John Sturrock (HF 1984 – 85) QC stepped out of the legal world in 1984 as a Harkness Fellow to study for a Masters’ Degree in International Law at the University of Pennsylvania. On returning to Scotland, he resumed a career in law at the Scottish Bar but his life had been changed. In the 1990’s, inspired by connections in the US and his knowledge of its legal system, he adapted the leading advocacy skills programme of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy into a Scottish context, establishing an award winning programme for his professional colleagues. Later, he studied negotiation at Harvard under Professor Roger Fisher (of Getting to Yes fame) and, leaving law, embarked on a second career as a mediator and negotiation consultant. He has helped to transform dispute resolution in his home country and elsewhere, and is now a world-recognised figure in the conflict resolution and policy-making field, working with politicians, governments, corporate leaders, Olympic athletes and many others – and mediating in complex disputes in many different contexts, often in the public context. In May 2018, in Edinburgh, John hosted and chaired the annual conference of the International Academy of Mediators, which he regards as a culmination of a journey which started as a Harkness Fellow thirty four years earlier and which gave him the confidence to look outward and across the Atlantic for ideas, learning and friendships.    
Published on: 25th May 2018

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The Rt. Hon. Sir Rabinder Singh (HF1985-86) is now a Lord Justice of Appeal. Having studied Law at Trinity College, Cambridge, he did a Master of Laws degree at the University of California at Berkeley. He reports that he Ioved the Bay Area and had a wonderful time travelling with a friend all over the USA, from coast to coast and back again. He particularly enjoyed the great national parks of America advising that there is no better way to see them than by camping. On his return to the UK he was a lecturer in Law at the University of Nottingham for two years before qualifying as a barrister in 1989.  Rabinder then practised in London until 2011, having become a QC in 2002. He specialised in public law, human rights and employment law, all areas, he comments, in which his studies in the US had been very influential on his thinking. He was appointed to the High Court in 2011 and to the Court of Appeal in 2017. 
Published on: 14th September 2018

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Alan Rosling (HF 1986-88) CBE is an entrepreneur and strategic advisor focused on fast emerging economies, especially India. He co-founded Kiran Energy in Bombay and runs his own consultancy business, Griffin Growth Partners, based in Hong Kong. Alan was a Harkness Fellow in 1986 during which he did an MBA from Harvard Business School. He had previously been a banker with SG Warburg and after the Fellowship returned to the UK to work in a leadership position with Courtaulds Textiles. His subsequent career included the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street (1991-93), Strategy Director of United Distillers (1993-1997), Chairman, India of the Jardine Matheson Group (1998-2003) and Executive Director of Tata Sons (2004-2009). Alan acts as a Non Executive Director on the Boards of Coats Group Plc, Constellation Alpha Capital Corporation and Vyome Biosciences. He is an advisor to a number of small, growth companies including Peotic, RedGirraffe.com and Insolight.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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Dr Jennifer Dixon (HF 90-91) CBE, always had three magnetic poles: science, arts and politics. She made herself pursue science (long story) but after five years of medical school and 96 hour working weeks as a junior hospital doctor, by her late 20’s the other two poles began to take over. Jennifer applied a fellowship soon after, aiming to study why such an intelligent and wealthy society in the US was unable to provide decent health care for 17 million of its citizens? Based in New York in part at Montefiore Medical Center and Department of Health Policy at New York University, she studied why federal reform to improve access to care was blocked and what some states had done to bypass this. The answers included age-old debates about the role of federal government, layered on a culture where the ‘social justice thermostat’ was just set too cold (for European tastes).  What wasn’t too cold though was the energising informal can-do witty working environment, as opposed to the cardboard hierarchy she was more familiar with in Britain. Back home Jennifer went on to pursue a career in policy analysis, a PhD, working at the King’s Fund, at DH as policy advisor to the CE of the NHS, and she became the CE of the Nuffield Trust and now the Health Foundation. The latter now co-funds the current Harkness fellowship programme.
Published on: 20th July 2018

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Baroness Julia Neuberger (HF 1991-92) was no stranger to challenge when she applied to be a Harkness Fellow for the 1991 intake. Prevented from studying Assyriology at Cambridge (she was refused entry to Turkey, because she was British, and to Iraq, because she was Jewish), she studied Hebrew and was ordained as a rabbi aged 27, the second female rabbi in the UK, but the first to be responsible for a synagogue which she ran until shortly before her fellowship. Immediately before her Fellowship, she spent 2 years at the King’s Fund Institute, looking at Research Ethics Committees (IRBs) in the UK, and published a report which led to limited government and medical royal college action to embed review in law and guidance. During her fellowship she studied healthcare ethics at Harvard, looking at values education for young healthcare professionals, hoping to bring best practice back to the UK. On her return Julia became Chair of Camden and Islington Community Health Services NHS Trust (1992 to 1997) and Chief Executive of the King’s Fund from (1997 – 2004). She was Chancellor of the University of Ulster from 1994–2000, and has been involved in a large number of voluntary and philanthropic roles. Julia broadcasts regularly on Pause for Thought, on BBC Radio 2, and has published widely on matters of ethics, morality and caring for older people and the dying. She chaired the independent review of the Liverpool Care Pathway (for dying patients) and is at present vice chair of the independent review of the Mental Health Act. She was awarded a DBE in 2003 and sits in the House of Lords as an independent. She the Senior Rabbi at the West London Synagogue.
Published on: 25th May 2018

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