The Chancellor of the University is elected by Court on the nomination of the Board of Trustees. They are the ceremonial head of the University and serve as its most senior public face.

Roles and responsibilities

The Chancellor:

  • confers degrees at graduation events
  • chairs Court
  • supports fundraising efforts
  • provides wise counsel to the institution.

Post holder

Sir Paul Nurse became Chancellor on 1 January 2017. In December 2021, Court approved a 5 year extention to the Chancellor's term of office, from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2026.

Sir Paul Nurse's biography

Sir Paul received a BSc in biology from the University of Birmingham in 1970, and went on to receive a PhD from the University of East Anglia for research on Candida utilis. He later completed postdoctoral research at the University of Edinburgh laboratory of Murdoch Mitchison, before joining the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK).

During an illustrious career, Sir Paul has chaired the University of Oxford Department of Microbiology, served as President of Rockefeller University in New York, and assumed the Presidency of the Royal Society. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2001 (along with Leland Hartwell and Tim Hunt) for the discovery of protein molecules that control the division of cells.

Since 2010, Sir Paul has been Director and Chief Executive of the Francis Crick Institute - a biomedical discovery institute, 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.

He is a 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; and holds over 60 Honorary Degrees and Fellowships, including from the University of Bristol in 2003.

Sir Paul was Knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in 1999.


Contact the Chancellor by emailing Michael Flay, Head of Governance:

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