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.
  • Professor Catherine Bachleda


    Professor Catherine Bachleda is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gibraltar. She has over a decade of experience working in the tertiary environment, underpinned by almost 25 years of experience 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 an accredited corporation providing executive and continuing education; Director of a small corporate law firm; Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs at 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, quality assurance, staff performance management and development, programme design and implementation, resource allocation and statutory compliance. She also possesses extensive experience in establishing accreditation compliant processes and in business development.

    Catherine holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Juris Doctor, and a Master of Business Administration. She has worked in academia and/or industry in North Africa, the Middle East, the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia. Her main research interests lie in the fields of consumer behaviour and services marketing. She was awarded Outstanding Paper in the 2017 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence.

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  • Dr Jennifer Ballantine Perera

    Director, Institute for Gibraltar and Mediterranean Studies and The Gibraltar Garrison Library

    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.

    Jennifer is Director of the Gibraltar Garrison Library. Her main area of research is Gibraltar, with focus on social and colonial history, British Overseas Territories, constitutional reform and expressions of self-determination. She has presented papers at international conferences and publishes on the subject. Jennifer is the founder Director of Calpe Press, a publishing house dedicated to promoting Gibraltar writings. She was editor of the Gibraltar Heritage Journal (2007-2017) and currently sits on the Editorial Board.

    Jennifer is a member of the University’s Research and Research Degrees Committee (RRDC) and supervises three PhD candidates. She has recently been appointed President of the Mediterranean Studies Association 2020 conference, which is to be held at the University of Gibraltar on 27 – 30 May 2020.

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  • Dr Hocein Bazairi

    Research and Research Degrees Committee Member

    Hocein Bazairi is a tenured Professor at the Mohammed V University of 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.

    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, etc.). He has contributed to more than 30 peer-reviewed papers and two collective books.

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  • Dr Keith Bensusan (Chair)

    Academic Board Member

    Dr Keith Bensusan joins the Academic Board as Chair of the Research and Research Degrees Committee. He 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.

    In addition to his work at the Botanic Gardens, he is a member of four statutory bodies in Gibraltar: the Nature Conservancy Council, the CITES Scientific Authority, the Gibraltar Port Authority and the Development and Planning Commission. Keith’s key interests include migration ecology, the diversity, ecology and conservation of species and habitats in Gibraltar, and the succulent flora of Morocco. He also sits on the Gibraltar regional Committee for European Funding (JLAG) and is General Secretary of the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society (GONHS).

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  • Dr Joseph Britto

    Research and Research Degrees Committee Member

    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 retirement 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. He also sits as a member of the Law Commission, currently tasked with reviewing Gibraltar’s criminal sentencing law, and is a member of the Drugs Advisory Council.

    Dr Britto was a founder member of the Board of Governors of the University of Gibraltar and has been involved with the University project since before its physical inception. He is the Director of the University’s Institute of Education, a member of the New Technologies in Education key advisory group, is involved in PhD supervision, and is an Associate Researcher at the University of Gibraltar. He takes a keen interest in all matters relating to English literature and language, radio communications and information technology; he is a licensed Amateur Radio enthusiast (ZB2ZX) and is an avid reader.

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  • Professor John E Fa

    Research & Research Degree Committee Member

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

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

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

    Professor Fa’s research embraces biology, economics, anthropology, and development. He has projects in Africa and South America which pursue a wide variety of global biodiversity issues – defaunation of tropical rainforests, food security, indigenous peoples and the impact of diseases on wildlife and humans.

    John has over 200 peer-reviewed publications and nine books in his name, and has led numerous research projects in different parts of the world. He also teaches on a number of courses in academic institutions in the UK, Europe, Africa and Latin American countries.

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  • Dr Darren Fa

    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, a director of the Gibraltar Museum’s Gibraltar Caves Project as well as member of the UNESCO WHS Gorham’s Cave Complex Action Forum, a registered Scientific Diver and European Commission Expert on Environment and Higher Education, 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 Clive Finlayson

    Beacon Professor

    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

    Reader in Sport and Exercise University of Gloucestershire

    Dr Malcolm MacLean has nearly 30 years’ experience in higher education in the UK, New Zealand and Australia, as well as working for as time as an historian supporting policy development in the New Zealand government. Most recently he has been Reader in School of Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucestershire, acting as research degrees lead in several Schools. He has recently stepped down after 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 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.

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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.

    She is an Associate Researcher at the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences at the University of Gibraltar. She supervises PhD students at the University and her areas of work there includes environmental quality and ethics, conservation tools and strategy, international environmental law, and environmental policy and governance.

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