UCL News


Retirement of Professor Ray Harris

17 July 2008

UCL marked the retirement of Ray Harris, UCL Professor of Remote Sensing and Dean of UCL Social & Historical Sciences, with a reception on 16 July 2008.

Ray Harris

Professor Harris joined UCL as Professor of Remote Sensing and Director of the Remote Sensing Unit in 1995, serving as Deputy Head of UCL Geography from 1997-2000. From 2004, he has been Dean of UCL Social & Historical Sciences, with responsibility for a faculty of 2,900 students, 220 academic staff and an annual budget of £35 million.

Prior to joining UCL, Professor Harris was Earth Observation Manager at Logica UK Ltd, with responsibility for consultancy, business development, bid management and project management in Earth observation. He was an external examiner for the University of London MSc in Remote Sensing, Vice-Chairman of the British Association of Remote Sensing Companies, and a member of the BNSC Earth Observation Programme Board.

Before entering the business world, he was a lecturer in geography at the University of Durham from 1976-1987, where he established a remote-sensing research group of 12, leading to the university identifying remote sensing as a major university strength.

His current public service includes: as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Centre for Space Science & Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific, India (since 2004); an International Council for Science-nominated representative on the Global Earth Observation System of Systems working group on architecture and data (since 2005); an invited member of the data-policy committee of the International Polar Year (since 2005); a member of the editorial board of 'Space Policy' (since 2000); and Chair of the International Policy Advisory Committee, ISPRS (since 1998).

His teaching responsibilities at undergraduate and postgraduate level include Earth observation, remote-sensing principles, remote sensing in agriculture, radar remote sensing, analysis techniques in geography and the Tunisian Sabel field course.

At the reception, UCL President and Provost Professor Malcolm Grant said Professor Harris had excelled as faculty dean and as a member of the UCL senior management team. He had been exemplary at leading the renewal process within his faculty and acting as a sounding board on wider UCL issues.

Professor Harris noted that UCL had the best geography department in the world and that UCL was conscious of its global position and its leadership role. He recalled happy memories from his time at the university and looked forward to seeing - from the beach in Sydney, Australia - UCL's Research Assessment Exercise results published in December 2008. He thanked his departmental, faculty and university colleagues for their support.

First image: Professor Harris with Professor Grant

Second image: Professor Harris teaching in Tunisia