The Research and Research Degrees Committee oversees the development and implementation of University policy on research degrees and ensures that  the  standards  of  research  degrees  are maintained.  It considers matters relating  to  the  development  of  programmes  of  study  for  research, research supervision, and examination arrangements for research degrees. It also advises the  Vice-Chancellor  and  the  Director  of  Academic  Programmes  and  Research  on research matters including research strategy and research ethics; and establishes and monitors ethical standards of practice in research.   The full scope of its responsibilities is summarised in the Terms of Reference of the Research and Research Degrees Committee.
  • Dr Darren Fa (Chair)

    Director of Academic Programmes & Research

    After obtaining a first-class honours degree in Education with QTS in 1990, Darren taught for ten years during which he read for and completed his PhD in Biological Oceanography at the University of Southampton. He then moved to the Gibraltar Museum in 1999 during which time he also read for a Masters Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. Darren was then chosen to be seconded as part of the team that developed and implemented the roadmap for the creation of the University of Gibraltar, eventually joining its team as Director of Academic Programmes and Research in 2014.

    As well as authoring several popular books, Darren has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters mainly on ecological and archaeological subjects, and has been principal investigator on a number of EU and EFCHED funded projects, several of which received international awards. His primary research areas are in marine species ecology and conservation, palaeoecology, and human evolution and behaviour, especially the relationship between people and the sea in the past.
    He is responsible for all the academic research that takes place under the aegis of the University, and is a member of the University’s Research and Research Degrees Committee as well as its Academic Board. He is also directly responsible for the development and delivery of a number of its academic programmes, having personally written the specifications for the MSc in Marine Science and Climate Change and the University’s flagship PhD programme.

    Amongst other things, Darren is a member of HMGoG’s statutory Nature Conservancy Council, Climate Change Committee and Scientific Diving Committee, as well as member of the UNESCO WHS Gorham’s Cave Complex Action Forum. He is an appointed mentor on the Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort and European Commission Expert on Environment and Higher Education. He is a registered Scientific Diver, a Chartered Biologist by the Royal Society of Biology and Elected Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London. He is married with three daughters and somehow finds time to dive, ride and play music when he can.”

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  • Professor Catherine Bachleda


    Professor Catherine Bachleda is the Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the University of Gibraltar, responsible for the strategic direction of the University and for providing academic leadership.

    Over the past 35 years, Catherine has worked in North Africa, the Middle East, the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia in a variety of management, quality, and learning roles, in academia and in the service industries of health, law, and education.

    Over the course of her career, she has held leadership positions that include Chief Executive Officer of a leading accredited corporation providing executive and continuing education; Director of a small corporate law firm; Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs in an accredited American-Liberal Arts university located in Morocco; and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gibraltar. In these roles, she has provided leadership in strategic planning and implementation, quality assurance, staff performance management and development, programme design and implementation, resource allocation and statutory compliance. Committed to the concept of continuous improvement, she also possesses extensive experience in establishing accreditation-compliant processes and in business development.

    Catherine’s main research interests lie in the fields of consumer behaviour and services marketing, and she has been the recipient of an Outstanding Paper award in the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence.

    She holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Juris Doctor, and a Master of Business Administration.

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  • Dr Jennifer Ballantine Perera

    Research Fellow

    Dr Jennifer Ballantine Perera is the Director of the University of Gibraltar’s Institute for Gibraltar and Mediterranean Studies and is based at the Gibraltar Garrison Library. Jennifer holds a PhD in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent and was the Research Associate on the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project ‘Gibraltar Community and Identity’ (2003 – 2006).

    With Professor Andrew Canessa, University of Essex, she is the recipient of a major award from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), for their project ‘Bordering on Britishness: An Oral History of Gibraltar in the 20th Century’ which started in September 2013.

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  • Dr Hocein Bazairi

    Research and Research Degrees Committee Member

    Hocein Bazairi is a tenured Senior Professor at the Mohammed V University in Rabat (Morocco), with a PhD in Biological Oceanography. His main research and teaching are focused on marine and coastal ecosystems (biodiversity, functioning, Ecological Quality status, Environmental Impact Evaluation, Conservation, etc.) and currently on Marine and Coastal Protected Areas and nonindigenous species.

    He is an expert on these topics for many national and international institutions (HCEFLCD-Morocco, PNUE-MAP-RAC/SPA-Tunisia, Conservatoire du Littoral-France, etc.). He has been involved in several national and international funded projects as an expert (MedWet, MECO, MEDCORE, WADI, MedMPA, CAMP Morocco, PEGASO, etc.) or as a national coordinator (MedMPAnet, MedKeyHabitats I and II, NTZ:MPA, IMAP/MPA, etc.). He has contributed to more than 70 peer-reviewed papers and five collective books.

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  • Dr Keith Bensusan

    Research Fellow

    Dr Keith Bensusan has been working at the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens since 2007 and became its Director in 2011. His background is in the biological sciences and he has a broad knowledge of terrestrial natural history, most notably plants, insects and birds. His PhD, which he obtained from the University of Leeds, is in avian ecology.

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  • Dr Joseph Britto

    Research Fellow

    Dr Joseph Britto studied English Literature and Education at what is now St Mary’s University and obtained his doctorate in Education at the University of Sheffield in 2007. He has taught in the secondary and primary sectors in Gibraltar and was appointed Director of Education in 2012. From 2016 to 2018 he was seconded and temporarily promoted to the post of Senior Administrator in the Office of the Chief Secretary to support and assist in matters pertaining to the day-to-day running of the Civil Service, Agencies, Authorities and government-owned companies. Following his full retirement from Government service in 2018, he was engaged by the Chief Secretary’s Office in an advisory capacity, chiefly on Special Projects relating to development and Service improvement (2018-2020). He was also the Chair of the Gibraltar Police Authority (2018-2024).

    Dr Britto is currently a member of the University of Gibraltar’s Board of Governors, and member of the Parole Advisory Board, the Healthcare Services Commission as well as the Public Services Commission.

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  • Professor Zsolt Demetrovics

    Chair of Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming

    Zsolt has joined the University of Gibraltar in 2021 as chair of the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming. He is psychologist and cultural anthropologist receiving his MA degrees at the ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary in 1998. He received his PhD in clinical and health psychology (addictive behaviors) at the same university, while he also became licensed clinical psychologist (Semmelweis University, 2005) and applied health psychologist (University of Szeged, 2016).



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  • Professor Julia Elizabeth Fa

    Research Fellow

    Julia was born and educated in Gibraltar. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of Wales, and has a D.Phil. in Animal Ecology from the University of Oxford.

    After completing her D.Phil., Julia spent until 1990 working at the Mexican National University, Mexico City, and as an environmental expert in the Gibraltar Government until 1993. She then held various positions of responsibility at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey until December 2013.

    Julia is Professor of Biodiversity and Human Development at Manchester Metropolitan University and Senior Associate at the Center for International Forestry Research in Bogor, Indonesia. Julia is also a Visiting Professor at the Universidad de Malaga, Spain.

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  • Professor Clive Finlayson

    Professor Finlayson is the Director of the University of Gibraltar’s Institute of Life and Earth Sciences and is based at the Gibraltar National Museum, where he is Director, Chief Scientist and Curator. Clive has a first class Honours Degree in Zoology from the University of Liverpool and was awarded a doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Oxford in 1980. In 1991 he completed his MSc in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester.

    He was appointed a Beacon Professor of the University of Gibraltar in 2019.

    Clive is an evolutionary ecologist and his main areas of research are the biogeography of hominins, avian biogeography and evolutionary ecology. In 2001 Clive was made Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and in 2003 he was awarded MBE in HM the Queen’s New Year Honours. He was elected a Member at the Academia Europaea in 2010. Clive has worked as a consultant for the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Paris.

    Clive has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and has written a number of books, including Neanderthals and Modern Humans (Cambridge University Press), The Humans who went Extinct, the Improbable Primate (Oxford University Press) and Birds of the Strait of Gibraltar and Avian Survivors (Bloomsbury).

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  • Dr Malcolm MacLean

    Senior Research Associate

    Dr Malcolm MacLean has nearly 30 years’ experience in higher education in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, as well as working for a time as an historian, supporting policy development in the New Zealand government. He is based in the Doctoral College at the University of Wales Trinity St David, working principally on doctoral supervisor training and development. He was previously Reader in School of Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucestershire, acting as Research Degrees Lead in several Schools, and was for 12 years as Chair of the University’s Research Ethics Committee, and Lead for Research Integrity. He was previously the University’s Associate Dean Quality and Standards.

    An historian by training and with degrees in anthropology and sociology, his research deals with social movements, international coercive policy instruments including cultural boycotts and sanctions and post- and de-colonial cultures. He is a former Chair of the British Society for Sports History and holds leadership posts in sports history scholarly societies in North America and internationally. He has expertise in qualitative research design, research ethics and integrity.

    Dr Malcolm MacLean is Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Human Movement Studies at The University of Queensland, Research Fellow in the International Centre for the History and Culture of Sport at De Montfort University and Senior Research Associate at the University of Gibraltar. For ten years until June 2016, Dr MacLean split his time between a senior academic and research post and senior academic leadership posts in Registry initially as head of taught post graduate studies, and then as lead for academic and assessment procedures.

    Dr MacLean’s academic career has drawn on his studies in anthropology, history and historical sociology feeding an awareness of relations of institutional and structural power. He has considerable experience in higher education governance and leadership alongside a continuing academic appointment including a role as university lead for research ethics and integrity.

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  • Dr Liesl Mesilio

    Research and Research Degrees Committee Member

    Liesl Mesilio is a geography graduate of the University of Reading, and read for her masters degree in Environmental Technology followed by her PhD in Environmental Geochemistry at Imperial College. Her thesis, for which she carried out the first inorganic geochemical baseline survey of soils in Gibraltar, subsequently formed the basis for contaminated land policy and management in Gibraltar.

    She is a Chartered Scientist and Chartered Environmentalist who has twenty years’ work experience in an array of fields within the portfolio of environmental management. As an environmental consultant, she worked on contaminated land, environmental risk monitoring and sustainable development projects before joining HM Government of Gibraltar at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Climate Change. As Chief Scientist her mandate at the Department spans effective environmental protection, addressing the threat of climate change, protecting and enhancing the natural environment, developing sustainable waste management practices, and promoting energy efficiency and sustainable energy generation. She has drafted various environmental instruments both in the form of primary and secondary legislation. She also works with EU working groups on marine policy, habitats, waste and renewable energy and with the Environment Ministers Council of the UK Overseas Territories on the adoption of international environmental instruments.


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  • Professor Derek Santos

    Research Associate

    Professor Derek Santos (BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD) graduated from Queen Margaret University in 1998 with a 1st class BSc (Hons) in Podiatry, he then received his PhD 2006 where he developed and validated an experimental system to assess the effects of plantar foot pressure on skin blood flow. Derek’s interest in musculoskeletal conditions affecting the foot and ankle led him to undertake and complete his MSc Podiatric Surgery in 2015. His other area of interest is diabetes where he contributes to postgraduate teaching and research. Derek has also completed a number of other postgraduate courses including intra and extra-articular joint injections; kinesiotaping; and acupuncture in the lower limb.

    Derek has lectured at QMU since 2003 and before this he worked in Private Practice and was Audit Coordinator for the NHS Borders Health Board, Scotland. Prof Santos is also contributing to national and international research projects.

    In addition, Prof Derek Santos is an experienced expert member of the NHS Research Ethics Committee for the South East of Scotland since 2010. He is an external reviewer for various medical journals and also for research grant applications to the NHS National Institute of Health Research Evaluation, Trials and Studies.

    Finally, Derek is an experienced external examiner both at post-graduate and doctoral level. He is also an Associate member of the Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research. He is also a Research Associate at the University of Gibraltar.

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