St John's academics recognised in 2023 Recognition of Distinction awards

Date 15 September 2023

Congratulations to the two St John’s academics who have been recognised in this year’s Recognition of Distinction awards, and who now receive the title of full Professor.

Heather Bouman and Stefan Kiefer

Heather Bouman becomes Professor of Biogeochemistry and Stefan Kiefer becomes Professor of Computer Science.

Professor Heather Bouman is a Supernumerary Fellow at St John’s. Her research investigates the diversity and physiology of marine phytoplankton single-celled organisms over a range of marine ecosystems, from the poles to the tropics. Due to their planktonic mode of life, marine microflora can be considered a sentinel of environmental change. It is anticipated that a warming of the surface waters of the ocean will lead to shifts in both the taxonomic structure and biogeochemical function of pelagic communities. Professor Bouman’s research uses data collected from both ships and satellites to understand the main environmental factors controlling phytoplankton biogeography and marine photosynthesis on regional to global scales. She has been an investigator in several large national and international research consortia and is a Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Monitoring Ocean Ecosystems.

Professor Stefan Kiefer is a Tutorial Fellow in Computer Science at St John’s. His research is motivated by computer-aided verification with the aim of analysing computer systems to make sure they behave correctly. This is particularly important for safety-critical systems such as airplanes or medical devices. A wide variety of methods from computer science and mathematics can help with this enormous task: Professor Kiefer’s work involves logics, automata and complexity theory, numerical analysis and linear algebra. A particular interest is the analysis of probabilistic systems, which involve an element of chance, either by design or inevitably. Professor Kiefer recently completed a Royal Society University Research Fellowship on the quantitative analysis of infinite-state systems.

Recognition of Distinction Awards are assessed using three criteria:

  • An ongoing research record which is characterised by a significant influence on the field of study and is of a high order of excellence and of international standing, and the quality of which in terms of research distinction is at least equal to that expected of those appointed to full professorships at other leading international research universities.
  • A record of effective teaching for the University and for colleges, concomitant with the duties of the University post and the college fellowship, where one is held.
  • A record of involvement in University and/or college administration and demonstrable competence in such administration.