Organising Team

Hisham Mehanna

Executive Director, Forum for Global Challenges 

The Forum for Global Challenges Community Profile

Professor Hisham Mehanna is the chair of head and neck surgery at the University of Birmingham. He has a keen interest in clinical and translational research, heading a research team of 20 researchers, and holding over £15million in research grants. His research has changed clinical practice across the world. His experience of multi-disciplinary research in the field of cancer biology and treatment has made him a strong proponent of multi- and interdisciplinary research, as the way to provide new insights and approaches to address intractable global challenges.  

As Deputy PVC, Hisham has responsibility for promoting interdisciplinary research across the University. Also as Director of Institute for Global Innovation (the IGI), Hisham strives to ensure that the Institute inspires, supports and delivers world-leading, multi- and inter-disciplinary research that seeks to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, that affect humanity at a global level.  The IGI’s research themes revolve around the factors that challenge, and sometimes threaten, the sustainability and resilience of individuals, communities, countries and the world as a whole. Our themes include resilient cities, water challenges in a changing world, clean cooling, pollution solutions, antimicrobial resistance, ageing and frailty, gender inequality, artificial intelligence and 21st century transnational crime. Our scholars seek, not only to understand these problems, but develop and implement innovative and often disruptive solutions, made possible by their holistic, inter-disciplinary approaches.

Fiona Nunan

Professor of Environment and Development, International Development Department, School of Government, University of Birmingham

The Forum for Global Challenges Community Profile

Forum for Global Challenges Programme Lead

Fiona Nunan is a Professor of Environment and Development at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests lie in the governance and livelihoods associated with renewable natural resources in low-income countries, particularly inland fisheries and coastal ecosystems. She first joined the University of Birmingham in 1994, working in the area of waste management and urban/peri-urban environmental and natural resource governance, mainly in India and Ghana. She left at the end of 2002 to work on two fisheries and lake management projects in East Africa.  

Fiona returned to the University of Birmingham in 2008 and has since undertaken research into mangrove forest governance in Kenya and Zanzibar, the pursuit of climate compatible development in coastal management, fisheries co-management on Lake Victoria and learning lessons for effective governance across natural resource sectors. She has published three books, Understanding Poverty and the Environment: analytical frameworks and approachesMaking Climate Compatible Development Happen and Governing Renewable Natural Resources: theories and frameworks

Deputy Programme Lead and Online Community Lead

Heather is a research Fellow within BCRRE, and Deputy Academic Lead for the Forum for Global Challenges. Her research interests centre on simulation, modelling and data analysis to support the sustainable development of railways. She completed her Ph.D at the University of Birmingham, focussed on evaluating railway energy-saving measures. She was then awarded a place on the Daiwa Scholarship Programme - 19 months of language study, homestay and work experience in Tokyo. During this time she was a visiting researcher at the Railway Technical Research Institute. 

Heather returned to BCRRE in 2019, where she has since worked on a broad range of industrial projects. She hopes to develop a portfolio of technical and educational projects encompassing the realm of sustainable digitalisation. She also volunteers as the Networking and Development Manager for the Young Rail Professionals in Scotland (where she lives).


Professor Christopher Peitroni 

David Hudson

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Institute for Global Innovation, University of Birmingham, 54 Pritchatts Rd, Birmingham B15 2SA