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Global Policy Institute


Our staff

Leadership team

Professor Colin Grant
Vice Principal (International)

Professor Colin GrantColin Grant is currently Chair of the British Council Education Advisory Group. He is a Trustee of the Council for At Risk Academics (CARA). He has served on the DAAD Strategic Partnerships Committee since 2012. He was Inaugural Chair of the Russell Group International Forum until early 2019 and was Universities UK (UUK) lead for Latin America (2014-2017). He has extensive leadership experience in Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa. He was a long-standing member of the UUK International Strategic Advisory Board until August 2019. 

Professor Grant was an exchange student in Leipzig and pursued his doctoral fieldwork at the Humboldt University and Zentralinstitut für Literaturgeschichte in Berlin in 1990. He was DAAD Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Siegen in 1996 and 1997 specialising in communication theory and society. 

Professor Grant is the author of several monographs covering literature, political science, psychology, epistemology and the theory of communication.

Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas
Professor of European Criminal Law and Global Security and Deputy Dean for Global Engagement (Europe)

Professor Valsamis MitsilegasValsamis Mitsilegas has served in a number of senior leadership roles at Queen Mary, including as Head of the Department of Law (2012-2018), as Dean for Research for the Humanities and Social Sciences (January-December 2017) and as Academic Lead for Internationalisation with pan-university responsibilities (2017-2018). He was also the Inaugural Director of the Queen Mary Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IHSS) from January to December 2017 and has been the Director of the Queen Mary Criminal Justice Centre since 2011.

His research interests and expertise lie in the fields of European criminal law; migration, asylum and borders; security and human rights, including the impact of mass surveillance on privacy; and legal responses to transnational crime, including organised crime and money laundering. He is the author of six monographs and over 100 articles and chapters in academic volumes.

A regular adviser to think-tanks, parliaments, governments and EU institutions, he has also served as legal adviser to the House of Lords European Union Committee and played a leading role in the establishment and development of a number of transnational research networks.

Professor Irene Leigh
Professor of Cellular Molecular Medicine and Dean for Global Engagement for the School of Medicine and Dentistry

Professor Irene LeighIrene Leigh originally joined Queen Mary University of London in 1983 as Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal London Hospital, where she established the Centre for Cutaneous Research at the London Hospital Medical College, later Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, which developed into a premier research centre in skin biology and disease.

In 1992 she became Professor of Dermatology, then Professor of Cell and Molecular Medicine (1999), Research Dean (1997-2002), Joint Research Director (2002-5), then Dean for e-learning (2005-6). In 2006 she was appointed Head of College and Vice Principal of Dundee University and re‑established a research laboratory in Dundee including the CR-UK Skin Tumour Laboratory. She was President of the Association of Physicians of UK and Ireland in 2010-11 and a council member of the Academy of Medical Sciences 2009-12, before returning to Queen Mary in 2018 as Interim Dean of Dentistry.

She has served on multiple grant awarding bodies and international research panels and was honoured with an OBE for services to medicine in 2006 and a CBE in 2012. She has also received medals from the British Association of Dermatologists, the British Society of Investgative Dermatology, and is an honorary member of the European Society for Dermalogical Research and the Society for Investigative Dermatology. She is a Trustee of THET and has established national networks for genodermatology (BADGEM) and skin cancer (UKKCC).

Professor Ioannis Kokkoris
Professor of Competition Law and Economics; Dean for International, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Ioannis KokkorisIoannis Kokkoris holds a Chair in Competition Law and Economics at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London, UK. He is also the Dean for International for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Professor Kokkoris is an expert on competition law and economics. His main research interests span all areas of competition law and policy including comparative competition law/economics and policy focusing on EU, US, BRICS and ASEAN. Professor Kokkoris has formerly served at the UK Competition and Markets Authority, DG Competition, European Commission and US Federal Trade Commission.

Professor Kokkoris has more than 100 publications including more than 15 authored/co-authored books, more than 65 articles and 20 chapters in edited volumes. Professor Kokkoris is on the editorial board of various international journals, frequently speaks at conferences globally and is regularly interviewed by international media.

Staff team

Sean O'Connor
Head of Global Projects and Policy

Sean O'ConnorSean is Head of Global Projects and Policy at Queen Mary University of London, working with the Vice Principal (International) to implement the university’s Global Engagement Strategy.

Sean was previously Head of International Engagement at Universities UK International, leading the non-EU policy team and overseeing activity across Australasia, the Americas, Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. 

Before this, he worked for Canning House, the centre for UK-Latin America relations, where he managed UK government relations, corporate supporters, and flagship events - including the annual Canning Lecture given by a Latin American Head of State.

Sean read Modern Languages at the University of Bristol before completing a Master's in Latin American Studies at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London.

Mark Coddington
Global Projects & Policy Manager

Mark CoddingtonMark has been working in the International Higher Education sector for 15 years. He joined the International Office in Newcastle University in 2005 supporting the agent network and leading on engagement with sponsors and embassies. In 2010 he took a sabbatical for 18 months working for an NGO, Himalayan Education Lifeline Programme, teaching in Ladakh, India and Changu Narayan, Nepal. On his return to the UK he took up a position with the University of East London focusing on growing recruitment in South Asia. In 2014 he joined SOAS University of London as Regional Manager for South Asia overseeing recruitment and engagement. In 2019 he took a brief departure from Higher Education working for the Home Office as a Senior Trade Policy Advisor with responsibility for representing the department’s interest across Whitehall in the wider trade agenda, before joining  Queen Mary in February 2020 to support the Global Engagement Office in coordinating and delivering international projects, policy initiatives and partnerships.

Pete Biggs
International Communications Manager

Queen Mary's International Communications Manager Pete BiggsPete works with the International Office and the Global Engagement Office to raise the international public profile of Queen Mary and communicate the university's world-class research, global partnerships, joint programmes, student and alumni success and incredible diversity to new audiences around the world.

He was previously at Reuters, where he led communications and PR activity for Europe, the Middle East and Africa: the news agency’s largest and busiest region. During his time with the news organisation he expanded the geographical reach of the role and used his extensive global media experience to build new relationships and generate positive media coverage around the world, helping to develop new markets for the agency. Before this he was part of the Corporate Affairs team at parent company Thomson Reuters.

Pete read Languages and Linguistics at the University of York before completing a professional qualification in marketing and is a former Council member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. He speaks fluent English and basic Italian and is trying to get better at the latter.