Source: University Alliance
Maddalaine Ansell, currently deputy director for international knowledge and innovation at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, will take up the post on 12 January 2015.
She replaces Libby Hackett, who left in August to join executive search firm Perrett Laver.
Ms Ansell, a University of Cambridge Classics graduate, qualified as a solicitor and worked in law firms before joining the civil service fast stream.
The University Alliance said that she “has held a number of appointments including with the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Home Office and BIS”. She “worked on the HE White Paper for the then Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts”, before being appointed to her current BIS post in 2011, the mission group added.
The choice of someone who knows the workings of BIS will be seen as a plus by the University Alliance, which represents 20 “innovative and entrepreneurial” universities in its lobbying operation.
Steve West, University of the West of England vice-chancellor and University Alliance chair, said Ms Ansell “will bring a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to the University Alliance team, during what promises to be a very exciting if uncertain time for higher education and research in the run up to both next year’s general election and the [spending review] in 2016”.
He added that the group aimed to “deliver an ambitious and transformational agenda for our innovative and entrepreneurial universities over the next five years”.
Ms Ansell said she was looking forward to working with the group’s universities “as they teach the professional and technical skills the economy needs, produce excellent research and help over a fifth of the UK’s students achieve their aspirations”.