Vice-Chancellor's profile

Professor Sir David Eastwood became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham in April 2009. Previously, he was Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), a post he had held since September 2006. Former posts also included Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, and Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Board. 

DavidEastwood3Sir David held a chair in Modern History at the University of Wales, Swansea, where he was also a Head of Department, Dean, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor. While at Swansea he co-founded the National Centre for Public Policy. 

He was Fellow and Senior Tutor of Pembroke College (1988–1995) and is now an Honorary Fellow of both St Peter’s College, Oxford, from where he graduated in 1980; Keble College, Oxford, where he was a Research Fellow from 1983 to 1987; and also the University of Swansea.

Sir David has served on numerous national bodies and committees, including as a member of the Research Support Libraries Group 2002-2003, the Roberts Review of the Research Assessment Exercise, the Tomlinson Group on 14-19 Education 2003-2004, the Councils of the John Innes Centre and the Sainsbury Laboratory, and the Board of the Quality Assurance Agency.  He has chaired the 1994 Group of Universities, UUK’s Longer Term Strategy Group, the Association of the Universities of the East of England, and Supporting Professionalism in Admissions (SPA).  He also chaired the Westminster Education Commission in 2009. More recently he was a member of the Government's Independent Review Panel looking at Higher Education Funding and Student Finance, and he now serves as an International Member of the Hong Kong University Grants Committee.

He is currently Chair of Universitas 21, Chair of the Russell Group, Chair of Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), a Board Member of Universities UK (UUK) and INTO University Partnerships, a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and a member of the Advisory Board of the Higher Education Policy Institute. He is also a member of the Advisory Group, led by Sir Paul Nurse, reviewing UK Research Councils.

In January 2012, he was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for the county of West Midlands, and in June 2014 he was awarded a Knighthood for services to Higher Education.

Since 1991 Sir David has been a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, serving as its Literary Director 1994-2000 and as chair of its Studies in History Board 2000-2004. He has published extensively on the history of the British state, the history of ideas, and electoral politics. 

He is married with three children. He enjoys music, politics, walking, sport, and good wine; and includes writing on football amongst his list of publications.

Selected Policy Articles and Speeches

The links below will open PDF documents unless otherwise noted. 

"A global university in the heart of an ambitious city" - a presentation given at the University Annual Meeting exploring the many points of contact between the University and the city of Birmingham, 12 March 2015.

"Collaborating through responsive relationships" - a speech given at a China-Birmingham investors' summit describing the University's approach to working with our partners in China, 28 October 2014.

"Chancellor's Dinner" - speech given following the installation of Lord Bilimoria as the University's new Chancellor, discussing the global partnerships and innovations that led to the University of the Year accolade - 17 July 2014.

"Democracy needs the Town Hall as much as it needs Westminster" - lecture at the House of Commons, 24 June 2014.

"Through a glass darly: what the future of higher education might be" - delivered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, March 2014.

"Presidential Roundtable on Internationalisation hosted by FAPESP" - speech delivered as part of a delegation from the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham to Brazil, October 2013.

"Resilience and Reform: Universities and the Modern World" - British Council Higher Education Conference 18 October 2012

"What Role can Universities Play in Supporting Economic Competitiveness?" - Urban Land Institute Event, Conservative Party Conference, 10 October 2012

"Urgently required: A White Paper to carry out the Browne vision" - Article published in Times Higher Education, 24 February 2011 (link opens the THE website)

"Higher Education Funding: Policy, Politics, and Possibilities" - HEPI Breakfast Speech, 15 February 2011

"Working with the Coalition: Higher Education" - Green Templeton Lecture, 7 February 2011

"Be Careful What You Wish For" - Full text of a briefer comment piece published on BBC Online, 9 December 2010, co-authored with Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham

"Who's Afraid of Student Choice?" - Article published in Times Higher Education, 11 November 2010 (link opens THE website)

"University Autonomy: Changing Times, Changing Challenges" - Speech to University Presidents' Forum entitled "The State and the Global University: Seeking an Optimal Relationship in Pursuit of Excellence", Shanghai, China, 11 October 2010

"Genius values teaching - so should the rest of us"  (link to PDF) - Commentary included in feature article "No apples for teachers" (link to THE website) published in Times Higher Education, 19 February 2009


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Professor David Eastwood

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