Need a chancellor? Best knock on Sainsbury’s door

Lord Sainsbury of Turville, the businessman and former science minister, has been nominated by the University of Cambridge to succeed the Duke of Edinburgh as chancellor after the royal stands down at the end of June.

May 21, 2011

Cambridge’s nomination board has submitted the Labour peer’s name for consideration by the university Senate. He is unlikely to be opposed: for another name to be considered, more than 50 members of the Senate must propose an alternative by 17 June.

Lord Sainsbury, former chairman of the supermarket giant, is an alumnus of King’s College, Cambridge, where he studied for a bachelor’s degree in history and psychology.

He was minister for science and innovation in Tony Blair’s government for eight years before resigning in 2006 for “personal reasons”.

The peer went on to write an influential report on science policy, titled The Race to the Top: A Review of Government’s Science and Innovation Policies (2007).

Prince Philip, who celebrates his 90th birthday on 10 June, became chancellor of the university in 1977. It was announced last year that he planned to stand down.

Lord Sainsbury’s nomination was announced in the latest edition of Cambridge’s official journal, the Reporter, which also contains a report confirming that the institution forecasts a multimillion-pound deficit on its main operating budget over the next three years.

In a commentary on the figures, the report says that projecting a budget deficit for the period is justified in order “to maintain our operations and to allow continued investment in essential capital and new initiatives”.

Cambridge will be able to fund the deficit by dipping into its substantial reserves.

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