In the news: Michael Sterling

May 30, 2003

The new chair of the elite Russell Group of universities will turn it into a more formal body with its own executive posts. Michael Sterling, 57, vice-chancellor of Birmingham University, will take over from Sir Colin Lucas, Oxford's vice-chancellor, in July.

The 19 Russell-Group members have agreed to put resources into public relations and into papers setting out the group's position on key points. Professor Sterling stressed that this would not mean the end of Universities UK.

Professor Sterling said that Russell Group universities were often unfairly criticised. "What they provide is high quality higher education and that does not come cheap." Although the group was concerned to see the white paper go through with the possibility of £3,000 a year top-up fees, he said: "As universities competing internationally we are acutely aware of our funding falling behind that of our competitors. As government funding is not forthcoming, student fees are the only game in town."

According to a THES survey, Professor Sterling is the UK's fourth highest paid vice-chancellor, on £155,000 a year. He joined Birmingham two years ago after heading Brunel University for 11 years.

He is president of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and chairs the board of the Higher Education Statistics Agency. His first degree was from Sheffield University and he began his academic career there before becoming professor of engineering, aged 34, at Durham University.

Outside of higher education, Professor Sterling enjoys DIY, computers, gardening and model engineering.

In 2001, Russell group universities accounted for more than 60 per cent of UK universities' research grant and contract income, more than 50 per cent of all doctorates awarded in the UK and more than 35 per cent of all students studying in the UK from outside the EU. The group was set up in 1994 and got its name from meeting in the Russell Hotel, London.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 10 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Business Development Officer YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Lecturer in Linguistics YORK ST JOHN UNIVERSITY
Associate Professor/Professor EDINBURGH NAPIER UNIVERSITY

Most Commented

Brexit, EU referendum

Joanna Williams voted Leave, and has been left disappointed by the academy’s reaction to the EU referendum result

Elly Walton illustration (7 July 2016)

Researchers in the liberal arts seem to have made it their mission to communicate in the most obscure fashion, says Zachary Foster

Daniel Mitchell illustration (14 July 2016)

Frank Furedi says the mournful mood on campus and the disparagement and silencing of Leave supporters betray an isolated scholarly class

Michael Parkin illustration (7 July 2016)

Rising immigration-related costs and lack of employer support send an unwelcoming message to international staff, says Jason Danely

Huge eyes peering through door windows

Some scholars claim plans are more about improving staff visibility to students than brightening corridors