Recruiting a new Vice-Chancellor

We have begun the recruitment process for a new Vice-Chancellor, following the announcement that Professor Sir David Eastwood will be retiring as our Vice-Chancellor at the end of 2021. We are keen to make this process inclusive and as transparent as possible to members of the University community, respecting, of course, the need to preserve candidate confidentiality.

The University of Birmingham is delighted to announce that Professor Adam Tickell has been appointed as its next Vice-Chancellor and Principal (25 June 2021)

Professor Tickell will take up the post in January 2022, following Professor Sir David Eastwood’s retirement in December 2021.

Professor Tickell is an extremely experienced senior leader within the higher education sector and joins Birmingham from the University of Sussex where he has spent the last five years as Vice-Chancellor. He has also previously held the post of Provost and Vice-Principal at the University of Birmingham.

As an influential voice for research and higher education at a national level, Professor Tickell appears regularly in the media and has strong networks in Government and major research and funding organisations. He is currently leading a national review of research bureaucracy for the Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, covering Government bodies, research funders, universities, and individual researchers and teams. Previously, he chaired the UUK Open Access Advisory Group, advising ministers on open access policy. He is chair of the Employers’ Pension Forum, and a member of the boards of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association and Universities UK.

Update from the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, Mervyn Walker  (7 May 2021)

"I am writing to give an update on our progress towards selection of a Vice-Chancellor to take up the role following Professor Sir David Eastwood’s retirement at the end of this calendar year.

The Selection Committee, as you may recall, is chaired by me and, additionally, comprises three other members of the University’s Council and three senior academic members of staff from the Senate.  The Committee has met regularly since late January, first to discuss then agree a job description and person specification for the role, taking into account the extensive feedback we received from consultation with staff and students around the University.  The role was advertised in late February and applications closed in April.  Since then, the Committee has met to review the list of applicants and agree on a longlist of candidates for further consideration.

We were pleased to see a strong field of applicants, enabling us to agree a diverse long list of candidates with whom to have further conversations.  This will be narrowed further during May to produce a shortlist.  Shortlisted candidates will be invited to the University in June for discussions and engagement with a range of members of the University community before final interviews with the Selection Panel.  The Selection Committee will then present a recommended candidate to the Senate for consultation and to the Council for approval at the end of June."

Update from the Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, Mervyn Walker  (5 March 2021)

“Since I last wrote we have formed the Selection Committee, which I chair, and which comprises members of both the University’s Council and the Senate, appointed an external search firm, and conducted extensive consultation around the experience and qualities being sought in the next Vice-Chancellor to build on our success and continue the University’s positive trajectory over the coming years.  There have been discussions with Council members, academic colleagues and College Boards, UEB, the Guild of Students, and Professional Services staff and we have received individual responses to the online consultation from more than 300 staff and around 200 students.  I would like to give my sincere thanks to all who have provided their comments, which the Selection Committee has found very useful in finalising the person specification for the role.  Inevitably, we cannot represent each and every perspective but there was notable commonality in much of the thinking. 

“The advertisement for the role is now live and will close shortly before Easter. During this time our Search consultants will be active in contacting potential candidates.  I am confident that we have specified our requirements very well and that the University is in a great position to attract a broad range of excellent candidates for this very critical appointment.  A copy of the applicant pack can be viewed below.

“The Selection Committee will meet after Easter to consider those candidates going forward to the long- list stage of the process. This will be followed by short-listing and interviews in May and June with the aim of the Selection Committee recommending the selected candidate to Senate and Council on 30 June.

“I will continue to share with you as much information as I am able at each key stage of the process.” 

The process

The process to appoint a new Vice-Chancellor is set out in the University statutes, which state that the Vice-Chancellor shall be appointed by the Council, the University’s governing body. Council makes the appointment on the recommendation of a selection committee, which comprises seven people: the Chair of Council, three lay members of Council, and three academics who are also members of Senate

  • Applications open – March
  • Selection Committee longlisting – April
  • Selection Committee shortlisting – May
  • Interviews - May/June
  • Selection Committee recommend selected candidate to Council – 30 June

Online consultation

Whilst the statutes prescribe the process, we recognise the importance of this appointment to the University community, and as part of this ran a two-week online consultation for staff and students from 3 to 17 February 2021. The consultation provided an opportunity for our current staff and students to share their views about the qualities, experience and skills that we should be looking for in a new Vice-Chancellor in order to help shape the person specification.  This consultation has now closed.

Recruitment pack and further particulars

VC recruitment pack
VC recruitment pack (accessible version)


Professional Services