Chancellor, Sir Paul Nurse, FRS FMedSci

The Chancellor

The Chancellor of the University is elected by Court on the nomination of the Board of Trustees. He or she is the ceremonial head of the University, confers degrees at graduation events, chairs Court, supports fundraising efforts, serves as the most senior public face of the University and is a source of wise counsel to the institution. (The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Hugh Brady, is the University's chief executive and academic leader.)

Sir Paul Nurse

Sir Paul Nurse was born in Norwich and lived in London in his early years. He attended Harrow County Grammar School. He received his BSc in biology from the University of Birmingham (1970), and went on to receive a PhD from the University of East Anglia for research on Candida utilis (1973).

Since 2010, Sir Paul has been Director and Chief Executive of the Francis Crick Institute (previously known as the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation). The Crick Institute is a biomedical discovery intitute, formed as a consortium between the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the Wellcome Trust, UCL (University College London), Imperial College London and King's College London.

Sir Paul stepped down as President of the Royal Society in 2015, having completed his 5-year term.


Key appointments and career milestones

  • Sir Paul undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Edinburgh laboratory of Murdoch Mitchison. In 1976 he identified the gene cdc2 in fission yeast, which controls the progression of the cell cycle from G1 to S phase, and the transition from G2 phase to mitosis.
  • He then joined the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) in 1984, until leaving to Chair the University of Oxford Department of Microbiology from 1988-1993.
  • Sir Paul then re-joined ICRF in 1993, and was appointed Director General in 1996. He then served as Chief Executive from 2002 (when it became Cancer Research UK).
  • In 2003 he became President of Rockerfeller University in New York, where he continued work on the cell cycle of fission yeast. He left to assume the Presidency of the Royal Society.

Selected Awards and Honours

  • Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2001 (along with Leland Hartwell and Tim Hunt) for the discovery of protein molecules that control the division of cells.
  • Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1998.
  • Elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1989, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
  • Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Foreign Academician of the Chinese Academy of Science; Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, USA; Albert Einstein World Award of Science.
  • French Legion d'Honneur (2002)
  • Copley and Royal Medals of the Royal Society (2005)
  • Over 60 Honorary Degrees and Fellowships, including from the University of Bristol in 2003.
  • Honorary Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford and Churchill College, Cambridge
  • Knighted by Her Majesty in 1999


If you have an enquiry relating to University business, you may contact the Chancellor through Hannah Quinn, Head of Governance and Executive Support by emailing