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An update on the ICZ Development Leads

Feb 13, 2017

Professor Tony Warne
Professor Tony Warne

Dear Colleagues

I am very pleased to be able to update colleagues on the arrangements for each of the Industry Collaboration Zone (ICZ) Development Lead roles and introduce you to some new faces.

Geoff Thompson MBE will lead the ICZ Sport with Alex Fenton as Associate Director and Professor Peter Walker will be responsible for the ICZ Engineering and Environments.

The Development Leads for all four ICZs are therefore:

ICZ Digital and Creative – Professor Robin Bargar

ICZ Engineering and Environments – Professor Peter Walker

ICZ Health, Wellbeing and Society – Professor Ben Light

ICZ Sport – Geoff Thompson MBE and Alex Fenton

Geoff Thompson is a leading youth activist and expert in sports development and politics with over 25 years’ experience in the bidding and hosting and legacy of major games and the positive impact of sport, arts, culture and digital technology in the social and human development of young people and communities globally. He is Founder and Executive Chair of the Youth Charter, a UK registered charity and United Nations’ Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

Geoff is a former five times World Karate Champion and was honoured in 1995 with an MBE for his services to sport. He has received honorary degrees from Roehampton University, the University of Lancashire, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Wolverhampton.  He is also a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater Manchester.

Alex Fenton works in Salford Business School and is an award-winning digital developer and academic. He completed a degree in Media Technology in 1997 and has worked in the fields of web development, web applications, teaching, digital business and digital journalism. He has two decades of experience of digital development, programming and project management, being a finalist and winner of several digital industry awards including the European Search Awards. He is currently Lecturer in Digital Business, being awarded 'Best Postgraduate Supervisor' in 2015, most Innovative Lecturer 2016 in the student teaching awards and winning the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Awards in 2015 and 2016 as part of a team.

He is a continuing professional development (CPD) course leader and student supervisor in the area of digital marketing, search engine optimisation, social media and content marketing and runs large events at MediaCityUK. His research focusses on digital and Sport and he is currently working with student teams and sports clubs to develop a new app’ using fitness, social media and gamification.

Professor Peter Walker is an architect and Professor of Construction Science and Management at the University of Salford. Prior to this, he was Professor of Architecture and Head of the Belfast School of Architecture, a director of a large multi-disciplinary health care practice - PM Devereux Architects, a Director of Conran Design Group - the international design consultancy led by Sir Terence Conran, and a part-time lecturer at Newcastle University.

Professor Walker is one of four Independent Advisors to the Architects’ Registration Board and is on the Council of the Standing Conference of Heads of Schools of Architecture (SCHOSA). He has been a visiting critic at a number of universities, most recently at Notre Dame University, Beirut and is currently Part 3 Professional Examiner at Newcastle University. He was an adviser to the Egyptian Government Housing and Building Research Council in the development of the Green Pyramid Building Assessment Scheme, and has acted as an expert witness on more than 70 cases of building failure and professional negligence.

Peter has spent equal parts of his career in academia and in industry. During his time in industry, he has worked as a director of an engineering and project management consultancy, a design consultancy and two architectural companies. His wealth of experience aligns perfectly with our single strategic priority, Industry Collaboration Zones. 

I would like to extend my thanks to both Professor Simon Chadwick and Professor Peter McDermott for their leadership in developing an early framework setting out the scope and reach of ICZ Sport and ICZ Engineering and Environments respectively. Their contribution has been invaluable and provided the basis for the future development of the ICZ programme.

The ICZ Website which begins to capture this work and showcase the partnerships being developed, how these feed into the curricula and research ambitions is now live and can be found here.

Yours sincerely


Professor Tony Warne
ICZ Programme Director and Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor