Professor Stephen Decent

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), Lancaster University

Stephen Decent is a Professor of Mathematics. He completed his BSc in Mathematics in 1992 at Brunel University and a PhD at the University of St Andrews in 1995. He moved to the University of Birmingham in 1995 as a Research Fellow, becoming a lecturer there in the following year.

He became Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Birmingham in 2006. In 2009 he became Head of School of Mathematics in Birmingham, and then later took on the additional role of Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Birmingham. While at the University of Birmingham, his responsibilities also included leadership of marketing and recruitment in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, setting up and lecturing on their MSc in Mathematical Finance, co-founder and co-director of the Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Chemical Engineering, and the Deputy Director of the EPSRC funded Centre for Doctoral Training in Hydrogen Energy, Fuel Cells and their Applications.

In 2012, Stephen moved to the University of Dundee, to become Vice-Principal for Wider Impact, comprising leadership for Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation, External Relations, Alumni and Public Engagement, and Head of College of the College of Art, Science and Engineering. This college comprised Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, the School of Engineering, Physics and Mathematics, and the School of Computing.

Stephen introduced the appointment of Dundee Fellows, bringing in a new generation of research intensive early career staff. The college had success in the 2014 REF, with submissions into Civil Engineering (3rd in UK), General Engineering (7th in UK), Mathematics (8th), Art & Design (23rd) and Computer Science (22nd). The Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification was part of the Biological Sciences submission (2nd in UK), and this centre also won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize.

Stephen was also Director of the Northern Research Partnership, Scotland’s engineering research pool that focuses on civil engineering, medical technologies, nonlinear and complex systems, energy and clean technologies, and computational systems. Stephen was also the Chair of the Board of Scotland’s newly created Offshore Renewables Institute.

In 2014, Stephen moved to Lancaster University to take on the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research), and an appointment as a Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Stephen continues his research activities as an applied mathematician.

Stephen’s research interests cover a range of multi-disciplinary interactions, especially with chemical engineering and chemistry. His research has included tackling problems in hydrogen fuel cells, drug delivery, coating, and liquid jet break-up, using a mix of asymptotic, computational and experimental approaches. Stephen has research collaborations with colleagues at the University of Birmingham, St Andrews, and KAUST in Saudi Arabia.