Vice-Principal (Research, Collections and Innovation)

The Vice-Principal (Research, Collections and Innovation) assumes responsibility for all research activities within the University. Responsibilities of the Vice-Principal (Research, Collections and Innovation) include:

  • oversight of the University’s research strategy
  • development and management of internal policy of practice relating to research
  • answering general questions about research and recruitment of postgraduate research students
  • reporting on research activities to external agencies, including the Research Assessment Exercise (REF).

Professor Tom Brown

The current Vice-Principal (Research, Collections and Innovation) is Professor Tom Brown. He has held this role since 2019.

Dean of Science - Tom Brown

Tom Brown is a professor in School of Physics and Astronomy. He undertook a BSc in Physics at Imperial College London graduating in 1993. Following a period of employment for the Defence Research Agency, Tom completed a PhD in Nd-Doped Waveguide Laser Devices at the Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton, graduating in 1997.

Following a spell of work in the City of London, Tom came to St Andrews as a Research Fellow in 1999 studying optical non-linearities in semiconductor materials. He then took the role of Assistant Director of an EPSRC Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Ultrafast Photonics before being awarded a Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) Lectureship in Biophotonics in 2005. He was then promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2009, Reader in 2013 and became a Professor in 2017.

Tom’s research interests are in the development of laser systems and related technologies for applications in Biology and Medicine working in collaboration with colleagues within the University and further afield. Whilst at St Andrews, he has developed compact laser systems capable of delivering pulses of light of duration <100 fs and shown the application of such lasers within optical communications.

Working closely with St Andrews astronomers and at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, he has conducted research on optimal light sources and delivery for conducting photodynamic therapy for cancer treatment and has collaborated on a long-term basis with materials scientists at the University of Leeds on developing new laser materials and demonstrating their applications in dentistry. Tom’s interests in optical imaging have led to developments in optical coherence tomography which enabled the field deployment of OCT systems in Antarctica in association with the Australian Antarctic Division.

Tom has also worked on the development of new teaching approaches within the School of Physics and Astronomy including significant inputs into the development of problem-based learning approaches and has experience of all aspects of the taught curriculum including lab-based courses.