Peter Gregson, the 46-year-old deputy vice-chancellor of Southampton University, will be the next vice-chancellor of Queen's University Belfast. He will succeed Sir George Bain, vice-chancellor since 1998, who steps down in July.
Professor Gregson is an academic high-flier, who graduated with a first-class degree in materials science from Imperial College London. He was appointed to a personal chair in aerospace materials at Southampton in 1995 and elected a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2001.
Before becoming deputy vice-chancellor, he was head of the department of materials, deputy head of the new School of Engineering Sciences, and director of research for the faculty of engineering and applied science.
He founded two internationally known research groups: one in aerospace materials, the other in innovative approaches to replacing hip and other joints. He has personally attracted more than £6 million in research grants and believes in harnessing the potential of interdisciplinary research.
"Exciting new areas of activity open up in such circumstances," he said.
"By working as part of a team, engineers and medics can come up with solutions that can have a dramatic impact on the treatment of people with joint problems."
Professor Gregson aims to build on Queen's interdisciplinary work, which includes projects in sonic arts, cancer studies, nanotechnology and digital processing.
He is committed to fostering knowledge transfer between higher education and industry, and is particularly proud of finding new ways to promote a culture of enterprise and innovation at Southampton.
He is married with three daughters. As a keen gardener, he is looking forward to the grounds of the vice-chancellor's lodge in Belfast's Lennoxvale, which include a woodland garden and displays of rhododendrons and azaleas. He enjoys tennis, sailing and classical music.