The University of Birmingham is delighted to announce two senior appointments to help drive forward its ambitious teaching and research strategies and strengthen its position as a leading global institution.

Professor Tim Softley will take up the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Knowledge Transfer, while Professor Andy Schofield is to become Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Professor Softley, who joins the University in September, is currently Professor of Chemical Physics and Head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Professor Schofield is Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham and will take up his new role on the departure of Professor Richard Williams, the present Head of College.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, said: ‘I am delighted to announce the appointment of Tim Softley and Andy Schofield to these senior positions within the University.

‘Tim has a wealth of experience in delivering research to the highest standards, which, allied with his quiet determination to help us deliver real research excellence, makes him a superb appointment.

‘Andy brings outstanding knowledge and experience to his new appointment, gained over 15 years at the University. He has a clear vision for the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences over the next five years and an enthusiasm to drive the College forward. I would also like to thank Richard Williams, the outgoing Head of College, for his considerable contribution to the University.’

Professor Softley studied chemistry at Oxford and undertook his PhD at the University of Southampton. He worked at Stanford University and the University of Cambridge before returning to Oxford in 1990. He currently leads a group at Oxford researching the chemical and physical behaviour of molecules at temperatures close to absolute zero. In the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Knowledge Transfer at the University of Birmingham, Professor Softley will lead on implementing the University’s strategies around research, knowledge transfer and business engagement.

Professor Softley said: ‘I am delighted to be coming to Birmingham to take on this exciting role in one of the most vibrant and forward-looking universities in the UK. Birmingham has world-class research strengths in all disciplines and is increasingly exploiting opportunities for multidisciplinary partnerships towards global challenges.

‘I look forward to working with all parts of the University to strengthen the international reputation and ranking of its research, increase and diversify research income, and build collaborations with new partners of all types locally, nationally and internationally.’

Professor Schofield, who completed his undergraduate degree and doctorate at the University of Cambridge, joined the University of Birmingham in 1999. He has since been promoted to the roles of Professor of Theoretical Physics and Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy, and in 2002 he was awarded the Maxwell Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics. His research focuses on the quantum properties of matter.

Professor Schofield said: ‘I am delighted to be moving to this new role. Science and engineering are at the centre of many exciting developments in research and teaching at the University of Birmingham, and I am keen to ensure that as a College we reach our full potential.’


For further information, please contact Deborah Walker, Head of Communications at the University of Birmingham, on +44 (0)121 414 6681. Out of hours, please call +44 (0)7789921165.

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