University of Birmingham appoints new Vice-Chancellor

Professor Adam Tickell
Professor Adam Tickell

The University of Birmingham is delighted to announce that Professor Adam Tickell has been appointed as its next Vice-Chancellor and Principal. Professor Tickell will take up the post in January 2022, following Professor Sir David Eastwood’s retirement in December 2021.

Professor Tickell is an extremely experienced senior leader within the higher education sector and joins Birmingham from the University of Sussex where he has spent the last five years as Vice-Chancellor. The appointment marks a return to Birmingham for Professor Tickell who previously held the posts of Provost and Vice-Principal, and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Transfer) at the University of Birmingham. As an influential voice for research and higher education at a national level, Professor Tickell appears regularly in the national media and has strong networks in Government and major research and funding organisations.

Mervyn Walker, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council at the University of Birmingham said: “I am delighted to congratulate Professor Tickell on his appointment. This was a rigorous and highly competitive selection process, and the standard was exceptionally high. Professor Tickell has an impressive track-record of leadership in higher education. He brings a combination of clear strategic vision, a collegiate leadership style, intellectual credibility, a depth and breadth of academic understanding, and genuine national influence: qualities that the Selection Committee felt would be invaluable to lead the University in its aspiration to become a global top 50 university.

“Under Professor Sir David Eastwood’s leadership, the research, education, civic mission, and global influence of the University have been transformed, and we are now firmly established as an innovative and bold global institution. Sir David’s legacy provides a truly remarkable platform on which to build, one which allows us to set the even more stretching aim of becoming one of the world’s leading universities. In Professor Tickell we believe we have found the right person to lead the whole University community in achieving these ambitions.” 

Professor Tickell began his academic leadership career in 2003 as Research Director in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law at the University of Bristol, during which time he served as Vice-Chair of the Research Grants Board of the Economic and Social Research Council. He then joined Royal Holloway in 2007 as Dean of the Faculty of History and Social Sciences, before becoming Vice-Principal (Research, Enterprise and Communications). He moved to the University of Birmingham in 2011, first as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Knowledge Transfer), and then as Provost and Vice-Principal. He has been Vice-Chancellor at Sussex since 2016. Prior to taking on leadership roles, Professor Tickell had a highly regarded academic career as an economic geographer. 

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Tickell said: “I am thrilled to be taking on this exciting role at a crucial time for the University. Although the backdrop for universities is challenging, Birmingham is very well placed to thrive. It has been led exceptionally and has real academic strength, outstanding facilities and opportunities for students, state-of-the-art research facilities, and strong collaborations. My ambition is for Birmingham to be known as the most innovative, vibrant and exciting place to work or study in the UK.” 

Notes for editors

  • For further information, please contact pressoffice@contacts.bham.ac.uk or call +44 (0) 7789 921 165.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.