The University of Birmingham has announced today [Monday 16 June 2008] that Professor David Eastwood, currently Chief Executive at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), has been appointed as the University’s next Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Eastwood will take up the role when Professor Michael Sterling retires in April 2009.

Professor Eastwood has been Chief Executive at HEFCE since September 2006.  Former posts include Vice-Chancellor at the University of East Anglia and Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Board.  An historian by academic background, Professor Eastwood previously held a Chair in Modern History at the University of Wales Swansea, where he was also head of department, Dean and Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

Eastwood’s promise

On the subject of his appointment to Birmingham, Professor David Eastwood said:

“The Vice-Chancellorship of the University of Birmingham was an irresistible opportunity. The University of Birmingham is a distinguished university in a great city. Its eminent history, financial strength, and recent restructuring will enable it to enhance still further its national and international reputation.

“In a period of change and challenge in the higher education sector, Birmingham will prosper as one of the country’s leading universities, will be a university of choice for students and staff, and will shine as a beacon of excellence in research, teaching, and impact. I will relish playing my part in building on the achievements of Michael Sterling’s Vice-Chancellorship, and working with colleagues to position the University in the vanguard of English higher education.”

Professor Eastwood will join the University of Birmingham at a key stage in its history, following nearly eight years of leadership and development under Professor Michael Sterling.  Professor Sterling has been instrumental in building Birmingham’s academic reputation and establishing financial stability. He has recently appointed five leading academics to head up the University’s new unified Colleges and to continue to enhance the academic strength of this research-led institution. 

Jim Glover, Pro-Chancellor of the University and Chair of Council – the University’s supreme governing body – led the search for Birmingham’s next VC.  He said: “I am absolutely delighted that Council has appointed David Eastwood to succeed Michael Sterling as Birmingham’s next Vice-Chancellor. 

“When Michael successfully appointed five dynamic College Heads who share great academic strength in the broad range of disciplines represented at Birmingham, we knew that the task of finding an energetic successor with the required leadership skills would be a challenge.  We are therefore delighted that, in David, the University has secured a prestigious appointment.”

“David’s breadth of experience and vision across the higher education sector, whether leading a university or an education funding body, proved to be a compelling combination.  He will join Birmingham at a time when it is poised and ready to grasp new opportunities.”



Portrait photos are available of both Professor Michael Sterling and Professor David Eastwood.  Please contact Rachel Burrows (details below) to request images.

The University of Birmingham:

The University is a truly vibrant, global community and an internationally-renowned institution. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than four thousand international students from nearly 150 different countries.

The University is home to more than 30,000 students. With more than 7,500 postgraduate students from across the world, Birmingham is one of the most popular universities for postgraduate study in the UK.

The University has been at the forefront of research and innovation and is currently ranked 5th in the UK for research excellence.  Seven subject areas received a 6* rating, the highest accolade awarded in the RAE. These are: Anatomy, Chemical Engineering, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Languages, Metallurgy and Materials, Russian and East European Studies, Sport and Exercise Sciences and West African Studies. in 2005-06 the University’s research income exceeded £76 million, representing more than 46% of higher education research and development income to the region.

The University is the eighth largest employer in the Birmingham/Solihull sub-region and plays an integral role in the economic, social and cultural growth of local and regional communities; working closely with businesses and organisations, employing approximately 6,000 staff and providing 10,000 graduates annually. 

The University contributes £662 million to the City of Birmingham and £779 million to the West Midlands region, with an annual income of more than £388.6 million.

Click here to read a short biography of Professor David Eastwood:

Heads of College at the University of Birmingham:

College Heads, Professors Anne Pauwels, Edward Peck, Malcolm Press, Nigel Weatherill and Lawrence Young are leading professionals in the fields of linguistics, public services analysis, environmental science, engineering and cancer studies, respectively.

Click here to read more about the five new College Heads


Rachel Burrows – Head of Communications, University of Birmingham

tel: 0121 414 6681 / mob: 07789 921165 /

Roger Grinyer –Head of Corporate Communications, HEFCE

tel: 0117 931 7307 / email: