Welcome from Professor Anthony Forster
The University of Essex is equally committed to excellence in research and education.
We are ranked 19th in Research Excellence Framework 2014 and in 2017 awarded the top Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework. The 2019 National Student Survey results placed Essex 14th out of all English mainstream universities, and in the top 15 for the seventh year in a row. Confirming our global reputation, the Times Higher Education World Rankings placed Essex in the world’s top 20 for international outlook.
In November 2018 we were awarded the accolade ‘University of the Year’ by the Times Higher Education. Judges said ‘This is a university that is putting people first.’ And we have done this by seeking to live up to the founding vision and our values by putting students and staff success at the centre of what we do…” The award panel pointed to many proof points – including a systematic de-casualisation of our workforce, ensuring we have no pay gaps by grade so that there is equal pay for work of equal value, and creating staff contracts for graduate teaching assistants. They also singled out that we are ‘unabashed’ in our strategy to recruit students based on potential rather than just prior achievement – and that we really do help all our students fulfill their aspirations. The Panel said “…what are universities if not communities of talented, committed people? By putting those people – both staff and students – first, the University of Essex has every right to its claim to be a “home for staff and students who want to make the world a better place.”
The University has an annual turnover of £250m and 16,000 students at our campuses in Colchester, Southend and Loughton and a further 5,000 students based at our strategic partners. Earlier this year we approved our Strategic Plan, which sets our ambition to be acknowledged nationally and internationally as a leading research-intensive university. By 2025 we want to be firmly in the top 25 of UK universities in the Times Good University Guide and all of our subjects in the top 20% of their discipline within the UK, and in the top 200 universities in the world.
As we have grown our student numbers, we have ensured that we increase our research power. We therefore plan to submit double the number of researchers to REF 2021 (675). We want to grow the size of the University to 20,000 students and continue to prioritise the appointment of staff with a research component to their roles, to allow us to submit 1,000 researchers to the REF in 2026. To support our growth plans we will also launch two new academic departments/subjects and want to further develop our interdisciplinary research work and impact.
The University is seeking to appoint a Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research at a very exciting time. Though UK universities face unprecedented challenges, we take encouragement from the increase in demand for an Essex education and our research expertise. The University is growing in reputation and standing, making significant step-change investments in our research capacity and we are confident about our future. Our current PVC Research, Professor Christine Raines is leading our REF 2021 preparations. We therefore want to appoint a PVC Research (Designate) to work alongside Christine from 1 July 2020 to 31 July 2021 and during this period the PVC Research (Designate) will have a focus on implementing our new Research Strategy. They will succeed Professor Raines as the PVC Research on 1 August 2021, with their first term of office from 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2024.
Reporting directly to the Vice-Chancellor and a member of the University's executive team (University Steering Group), the Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research is a senior academic leadership post within the University. The PVC Research is responsible for the leadership of our research and enterprise agenda, in collaboration with other members of the University executive, Deans, Deputy Deans and Heads of Department.
Applications are invited from candidates with an excellent research standing, and academic credibility in a research-intensive environment as well as demonstrable leadership and management experience. The appointee will need to be returnable to one of our Units of Assessment for REF 2021.
The appointee will hold a substantive post of Professor in a relevant academic department. The normal term of appointment to the role of the PVC Research is three years (1 August 2021 to 31 July 2024), with eligibility for re-appointment for further three years. They may exceptionally be re-appointed for a further period of up to three years making a total of nine years. Re-appointment is proposed by the Vice-Chancellor and approved by the Council on the recommendation of the Senate. The post-holder will be appointed to a substantive Chair in one of our academic departments, to which they will revert at the conclusion of their term of office.
We recognise that in a research-intensive university research credibility is essential and 20% of the PVC’s time will be allocated to maintaining and developing their research career and they are expected to be eligible for submission to the REF in one of our units of assessment as part of the contractual requirements of this post. This is a full-time appointment.
I have been the Vice-Chancellor since August 2012 and you can find out more information about me, including my blogs on key issues on my Vice-Chancellor webpage and my tweets @Forster_Anthony. I would welcome a conversation with potential applicants.
Anthony Forster, Vice-Chancellor