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Brunel Vice-Chancellor elected President of Universities UK

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Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, Brunel’s Vice-Chancellor and President, has been announced as the next President of Universities UK (UUK).

Professor Buckingham was elected following a ballot of UUK’s 136 members. Alongside her current role as vice-chancellor, she will take up the new post for two years from August, succeeding Professor Dame Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool.

Since becoming Brunel Vice-Chancellor in 2012, Prof Buckingham has been an active member of UUK, which represents and acts on behalf of 136 universities in the UK. She was elected to the UUK board in 2014 and became Treasurer of the organisation in 2016.

Professor Buckingham said: “In the current climate of uncertainty and unprecedented change, universities – whatever their specialism, mission or geography – are in a position to make a huge difference to the country, to the economy and to individuals’ lives.

“We are at the centre of the most important issues: educating the workforce and addressing the skills gap; strengthening our research base and driving innovation and entrepreneurism; we are a force for good, tackling issues right at the heart of our society such as social mobility, inclusivity, mental health and wellbeing; and ensuring that UK higher education remains at the forefront globally.

“I am honoured to have been elected by my peers, and to have the opportunity to work with UUK to steer this agenda forward, engaging with politicians, business leaders and others to influence policy development, to find solutions to difficult problems and to communicate and celebrate our sector’s success and value in the UK and around the world.”

Chair of Council at Brunel, Professor Mike Spyer, said: “I am absolutely delighted for Julia. It is recognition of the respect that she has in the sector and beyond. It is not only a personal honour but brings enormous credit to Brunel where she has been, and will continue to be, an inspiring Vice-Chancellor. A time of great challenge for Higher Education demands leadership and Julia has both the experience and determination to deliver that leadership."

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of UUK, said: “Julia is widely respected across the sector as a successful leader and effective champion of gender equality, research and student mental health issues. The experience and expertise she brings from a background which combines industry and academia will be invaluable as she leads our university sector.

“I look forward to working with Julia to further enhance UUK’s impact, influence and engagement with members and stakeholders.”

Prof Buckingham is also a Director of Imperial College Health Partners and of the National Centre for Universities and Business; a member of the All-Party Parliamentary University Group Council; a member of the Heathrow Skills Taskforce; Chair of The Concordat Strategy Group, supporting the career development of researchers; and Chair of the Athena SWAN Review Steering Group.

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