September 1999

No 171

The new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester has announced that the University intends to take on a more significant role in the region in the new Millennium.

Professor Robert Burgess, who succeeds Dr Kenneth Edwards as Vice-Chancellor on October 1, said that he aims to develop the University of Leicester so as to provide leading edge research and teaching.

He said the University intends to forge closer links with business and industry. The University will aim to provide courses that are more widely accessible, including those for professionals seeking to develop their careers.

"My task is to ensure that Leicester stays at the forefront of all its activities with the support of every member of staff in the University, as each person is an essential member of the Leicester team," he said in an article to be published in the University newsletter, Bulletin.

Professor Burgess stressed the need for the University to think about the opportunities brought about by lifelong learning - allowing people to access higher education at different stages, be it undergraduate, postgraduate, continuing professional development and adult education. The University of Leicester also needs to advance its links with business and industry as well as the local community. He said: "All universities need to be responsive to the communities in which they are located. In this respect Leicester needs to link with the locality and the region offering support and services to the people of Leicester and Leicestershire.

"If the University can do this locally, it gives it a strong base from which to develop activities nationally and internationally. For example, some of the facilities need to be opened up to members of the community, more conferences need to be attracted to the University and people working in business, industry and commerce need to be persuaded that the University of Leicester wishes to engage in activities with them by providing research support and advice and also developing short courses for their staff.

"In this respect the University has the opportunity to enhance its relationship with a range of communities who can contribute to the development of a vibrant University."

Professor Burgess added that, like other universities, Leicester faced challenges in the new Millennium, particularly at a time when resources are being reduced. This made the links with business and industry even more important: "In these circumstances, the University will need to think about ways it can provide a range of academic and commercial services in order to generate additional resources that can be used to enhance the academic activities that it wishes to promote," said Professor Burgess.



Professor Burgess is the University of Leicester's fifth Vice-Chancellor. He is former Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick and he has also served on a range of external bodies, including over the years being President of the British Sociological Association, President of the Association for the Teaching of the Social Sciences and Founding Chair of the UK Council for Graduate Education. He is currently a member of the Council of the Economic and Social Research Council and also Chair of the Council's Training Board.

The University already plays a significant regional role and has strong links with business and industry upon which Professor Burgess intends to build:

  • The University has a turnover of 114 million a year, employs over 2000 staff and attracts thousands of people to the city
  • The University's research and teaching excellence in Physics and Astronomy paved the way for the 46 million National Space Science Centre - the Landmark Millennium development in the East Midlands
  • Senior members of the University have a wealth of experience in industry and many departments have teaching and research links with specialist industries
  • The University is a leading partner in the Great East Midlands Campaign to enhance the profile of the region
  • The University received a research income of 27 million in the last academic year, a significant proportion of which involves partnerships with local hospitals and with regional industry
  • The University has provided educational opportunities to thousands of local people through general interest courses and certificate programmes offered by the Department of Adult Education. Degree programmes in the University offer many opportunities to enhance career skills, for example, through the Management programmes on offer.
  • The University provides a major programme of music, lectures, drama and events for the regional community and its facilities like conference office, bookshops, travel centre, restaurants, shops and coffee bars are open to the public.

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