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Professor Richard Black has been appointed as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences

The University of Birmingham is delighted to announce that Professor Richard Black has been appointed as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences to drive forward Birmingham’s ambitious plans to become established as a leading global centre for teaching and research in the Social Sciences.

Professor Black, who will join the University in April 2018, is currently Pro-Director (Research and Enterprise) and Professor of Development Studies at SOAS University of London.

Announcing the appointment Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Professor Sir David Eastwood, said: “We are delighted to announce Richard’s appointment. Richard is a distinguished academic scholar with substantial leadership experience and a clear vision for the College of Social Sciences. We are confident that under his leadership the College will continue to thrive and to realize our ambitious plans for both research and teaching.

Accepting the post, Professor Black said: “I am hugely excited to be taking on the role of PVC and Head of Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham. At a time when universities and 'experts' are under attack, I believe strongly in the capacity of social science to lead debate and propose solutions to the world's biggest challenges in areas ranging from reducing inequality or the tensions associated with immigration and ethnic and religious diversity, to international security.

"Birmingham social science is already having a major impact both locally and globally through its research, teaching, and engagement, and I look forward to supporting colleagues to extend that impact in the future."

Richard Black has been Pro-Director (Research and Enterprise) and Professor of Development Studies at SOAS University of London since August 2013. Prior to SOAS, he served as Founding Head of the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex from 2009-13, where he held the post of Professor of Human Geography from 2003.

Whilst at SOAS, Richard has led on the development of a research excellence strategy for the School in preparation for REF2021, as well as overseeing a significant rise in research income and the implementation of a revised research ethics framework. He also negotiated a new partnership with the British Library in 2016 that has seen collaboration around doctoral training, exhibitions and digitization of collections.

Richard is widely published on issues concerning migration, refugees, development and environmental change. His most recent publications have focused on long-term changes in migration, including from Africa to Europe, and within countries in South Asia in response to climate change, and he is currently part of a multi-country and multi-institution project on Migrants on the Margins, which was launched as the Royal Geographical Society's Field Research Programme in 2016.

He was editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies from 1994-2009 and was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2012. His books include A continent moving west? (Amsterdam, 2010), Targeting Development (Routledge, 2004) and Refugees, Environment and Development (Longman, 1998).

Prior to joining SOAS, Richard served as Chair of the Lead Expert Group for a Foresight project on Migration and Global Environmental Change, within the Government Office for Science from 2009-11. Whilst at SOAS, he has continued to work with and advise international organisations, including the OECD, World Bank, and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development. Richard is also one of four members of the new Migration Leadership Team for AHRC and ESRC.
Richard completed his undergraduate degree in Geography in 1986 (Oxon) and his PhD in 1990 (London).

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