Professor Lamberts will join Sheffield at the start of November, following Sir Keith Burnett’s retirement at the end of September.
The cognitive psychologist, who was formerly deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick, has led York since 2014.
Professor Lamberts, who was born and educated in Belgium, said that he felt “enormously privileged” to join Sheffield, which has almost 29,000 students.
“Sheffield is known across the world for the excellence, impact and distinctiveness of its research and teaching, and for being a university which speaks fearlessly for the value of international scholarship to transform lives for the better,” he said.
"I am committed to working with colleagues to further enhance Sheffield's reputation as a global university which strives to solve society’s greatest challenges at the same time as upholding its proud history, guided by its founding principles.”
Gill Valentine, Sheffield’s deputy vice-chancellor, will lead the institution between Sir Keith’s retirement and the arrival of Professor Lamberts.