Professor Anthony Forster

Professor Anthony Forster

“We are a dual intensive university, equally committed to delivering excellence in education and research and we are in a very select group of universities that excel at both. We are extremely proud to be rated Gold in this year’s Teaching Excellence Framework and also to be ranked in the top 20 in the Research Excellence Framework. Putting students and staff success at the centre of everything we do led to us being named University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards in 2018. 

“We admit students on their potential, not just on their prior achievement, and our staff are absolutely committed to providing a transformational education experience for all our students.

“We're ranked 22nd in the 2018 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide and 32nd in the 2018 independent Complete University Guide.

“Ranked in the top 20 for international outlook in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019 we are dedicated to contributing to society locally, regionally, nationally and globally. I am proud that you can find the world in one place at the University of Essex and we are a beacon of internationalism with students and academics drawn from 140 countries.

“In response to record levels of interest from applicants, we plan to invest £100 million into our three campuses at Colchester, Southend and Loughton – creating new teaching spaces, laboratories, student accommodation and sports facilities. These are exciting times for Essex and we also aim to double the number of research active academic staff to 600 by 2019.

“Our students are an inspiration to us – bold, daring and determined to make a difference. We are especially proud of the amazing relationship we have with our Students’ Union.”


In just one sentence 

Anthony Forster is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex and is a Professor of Politics and International Relations.

Full details

Anthony Forster has been the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex since 2012 and is a Professor of Politics and International Relations. He earned his masters degree and doctorate from the University of Oxford. He has a longstanding interest in negotiating behaviour and the contract between governments, their citizens and armed forces. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Leadership Foundation in Higher Education.

Anthony has 20 years of experience in academic leadership positions in five universities. He has a longstanding commitment to ensuring excellence in education and research benefits individuals and communities. During his time at the University of Essex, it has nearly doubled in size and in 2018 won the Times Higher University of the Year Award, widely referred to as the Oscars of UK higher education.

The Vice-Chancellor's role

As the senior academic and administrative officer, the Vice-Chancellor is the de facto Chief Executive of the University with overall responsibility for the leadership and management of the institution.

The University Ordinances state that the Vice-Chancellor: ‘shall have a general responsibility to the Council for maintaining and promoting the efficiency and good order of the University.’ He is responsible to the University Council and is an ex officio member of the Council and of the Senate, which he chairs. The Vice-Chancellor also chairs the University Steering Group (USG), the executive leadership team which meets fortnightly during term time and advises the Vice-Chancellor on matters relating to the management of the University.

The Vice-Chancellor is responsible for:

  1. Providing academic and administrative leadership and ensuring the good management of the University
  2. Developing and evolving the University’s strategy and vision
  3. Exercising general oversight of the University’s financial position in order to ensure a sustainable financial base that allows the delivery of the University’s mission, aims and objectives and advising the Resources Committee on the University’s overall financial strategy and its development
  4. Playing a leading part in shaping the academic development of the University
  5. Promoting and marketing the University locally, nationally and internationally
  6. Articulating the University’s needs and interests to government, the funding bodies and research councils
  7. Providing leadership and personal commitment to the University’s fundraising activities and fostering strong relationships with alumni
  8. Carrying out ceremonial and civic duties

As part of the University’s commitment to equality and diversity within and beyond its community, individual members USG also act as diversity champions in relation to each of the nine protected characteristics. The Vice-Chancellor is one of the University’s sexual orientation diversity champions.

Links for staff



Vice-Chancellor's expenses

The University of Essex reimburses the expenses incurred by the Vice-Chancellor and other members of the senior team on University business and these are published quarterly.

Essex staff can find out more about our expenses guidelines in our Financial Regulations.

Former Vice-Chancellors

  • Professor Colin Riordan, BA, PhD (2007-2012)
  • Professor Sir Ivor Crewe, DU DL MA MSc DLitt AcSS (1995-2007)
  • Professor R J Johnston, MA PhD DU (1992-1995)
  • Professor Martin Harris, CBE, MA PhD LLD DU (1987-1992)
  • Professor Sir Albert Sloman, CBE, MA DPhil DU DLitt (1962-1987)

Get in touch
Professor Anthony Forster  Vice-Chancellor
Telephone: 01206 872000
Lucy Birch Executive Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor
Telephone: 01206 872815