Professor Allison will succeed Shirley Pearce, who will step down in September after seven years in the role. He is currently professor of geography and pro vice-chancellor for strategic planning, research, enterprise and innovation at Sussex.
Professor Allison described his appointment as “an honour and a privilege”.
“It is my intention to build upon the outstanding success of Professor Pearce to ensure that the high international standing of the university is maintained through its excellent research, teaching and learning, and links with business and the community,” he said.
Professor Allison has a BA in geography from the University of Hull and a PhD from King’s College London. He was a research fellow at Durham University and then a lecturer in engineering sedimentology at University College London.
In 1999, he was appointed professor of geography at Durham and in 2002 became executive dean of the university’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Health.