Effective leadership from vice-chancellors is vital if UK universities are to be world leaders, the chancellor said this week, writes Paul Hill.
Speaking at the launch of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, Gordon Brown said that "nothing will matter more" than leadership if universities are to be global players.
Mr Brown, who was delivering his speech as The Times Higher went to press, was also expected to take up the theme of last week's budget by stressing the importance of education and science to Britain's future prosperity.
Mr Brown said: "Building world-class universities is not just the educational challenge in our times, it is central to the economic challenge of our times - succeeding in the global economy."
Ewart Wooldridge, foundation chief executive and former head of the Civil Service College, said the organisation would "equip leaders for one of the UK's most important global industries".
"Leadership is not just an activity at the top but something that needs to be distributed among the whole organisation," he said.
The foundation is set to run a series of masterclasses for university leaders - such as "handling risk" - and may develop a mentoring scheme that could draw on private-sector expertise.
The foundation is backed by Universities UK and the Standing Conference of Principals. It will receive £10 million from the funding councils over three years.