Warwick woos new head from Oxford

December 2, 2005

Warwick University signalled its intention to travel up the world's academic rankings this week by confirming it had poached Oxford University's research chief, Nigel Thrift, to be its next vice-chancellor.

Professor Thrift, Oxford's pro vice-chancellor for research and one of the world's most eminent geographers, will take over from Warwick vice-chancellor David VandeLinde when he retires next year.

Although he declined to give interviews this week, Professor Thrift says in a statement: "Warwick is one of the UK's most respected and influential universities. It is a dynamic and exciting institution that has already made a profound mark on the international stage.

"I look forward to working with academics and all Warwick's staff to enhance Warwick's research base and to develop the university's international reputation still further."

Professor Thrift joins Warwick with a pedigree in managing university research strategies. He has been at Oxford since 1993 and secured its top research role earlier this year. He previously chaired Bristol University's research committee and has chaired Bristol's research assessment panel.

Professor Thrift, 56, will be a panel chair in the 2008 research assessment exercise, overseeing geography, architecture and environmental studies.

John Leighfield, chair of Warwick's council, says in a statement: "His outstanding academic reputation is matched by his significant achievements in leading on research strategy at both Oxford and Bristol universities.

"We expect that his appointment will... serve to enhance our reputation as a leading university of international stature."

Professor Thrift also has a strong personal research pedigree. He is one of the top five most cited geographers in the world, according to Warwick, and was formerly head of Oxford's division of life and environmental sciences.

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