I became the University’s academic leader and chief executive in 2001. This was, and remains, a tremendous privilege for me, given the University’s longstanding reputation for great teaching and internationally distinguished research. All that, plus a location at the heart of a lively, historic, beautiful city! No wonder the University of Bristol is at the top of the popularity stakes.
Over time, I have come to understand more clearly what makes this University so special. It comes down to people. First, the academics, who account for Bristol’s position as a world leader in subjects ranging from aerospace engineering to biochemistry, classics to mathematics, clinical neuroscience to policy studies. I know of no university of comparable size with as many members of staff who are Fellows of the top academic societies. Then there are the administrators, gardeners, technicians and many others who support the whole enterprise with such superb commitment. And, of course, there are our students – an extraordinarily diverse body of people united by exceptional ability, motivation and potential.
One of the University’s two main roles is to help our students achieve that potential and become what they want to be and what society needs. Our other main role is to generate new knowledge that improves the world and illuminates our understanding of it. We are acknowledged as excelling in both of these roles, and we intend to do even better – hence the ambitious programme of investment in facilities and staff that we will be continuing over the next few years.
We are a community of scholarship in a creative and dynamic city. We set very high standards and we have a clear vision for the future. This truly is an exciting place.
Professor Sir Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor
Professor Sir Eric Thomas is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, a position he has held since September 2001. He was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2013 for services to higher education.
He graduated in Medicine from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1976 and proceeded to obtain his MD by thesis in research into endometriosis in 1987. He trained as an obstetrician and gynaecologist and worked at both the Universities of Sheffield and Newcastle. In 1991, he was appointed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Southampton and then became Head of the School of Medicine there in 1995 and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Biological Sciences in 1998. He was a consultant gynaecologist from 1987 to 2001.
In July 2013, Sir Eric was appointed as the new UK Education Champion by the Government as part of its strategy to promote the UK education sector internationally. Sir Eric will also co-chair the new International Education Council alongside the Universities and Science Minister.
From 2011 to 2013, Sir Eric was President of Universities UK. He was previously Vice-President of UUK, Chair of its England and Northern Ireland Council and Chair of the Research Policy Committee. He was a Trustee and then Chair of CASE Europe from 2007 to 2014 and a member of the CASE Board in North America from 2010 to 2014.
Sir Eric is a Trustee of IntoUniversity and a Lay Trustee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He chaired the government Taskforce into Increasing Voluntary Giving in Higher Education, which reported in 2004. He was Chair of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) from 2003 to 2007 and was a member of the Board of the South-West Regional Development Agency from 2002 to 2008.
He is a Deputy Lieutenant of the City and County of Bristol and is married with two children.
Interests in golf and Newcastle United
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