Professor Paul Harrison

Professor Paul Harrison


Sheffield Hallam University

Job title

Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation



After his first degree in physics at the University of Hull, Paul decided to pursue an academic career because of his wish to share the love of his subject with students.  With that in mind Paul did a a PhD in computational physics at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and then returned to Hull in 1991 to work as a postdoctoral researcher assistant in the Applied Physics department.  After four successful years Paul had built his CV up to the level to obtain a five-year research fellowship in 1995 in the School of Electronic & Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds.  This was a strategic move by the University of Leeds to hire early-career researchers and develop them into independent research leaders.  The fellowship gave Paul the time to invest heavily in his own research portfolio and Paul built up a group of research students and postdocs, a strong publications track record and an international reputation in theory and design of semiconductor optoelectronic devices.

At the end of his fellowship Paul was promoted to Reader in 2000 and subsequently Professor of Quantum Electronics in 2002.  The following year Paul was nominated by the staff to be Head of the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, rated 5* in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise.  Under his leadership the school continued to develop its research portfolio and worked as a team to push on with its research strategy: subsequently rewarded by being ranked top of its unit of assessment in the 2008 RAE.

Paul was promoted to Dean of Postgraduate Research Studies in 2011, a university-wide portfolio to develop postgraduate research as part of the overall university strategy.  This included responsibility for developing research funding for postgraduate students, marketing, recruitment, admissions and progression, improving submission and completion rates, harmonising processes and improving the student experience across campus.  Paul joined Sheffield Hallam University as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the start of 2014.

Over his career, Paul has co-authored nearly 300 journal articles, written two books, successfully supervised 16 students to PhD, raised £3m of research funding and Google Scholar gives him a h-index of 33.