GW4 is a major strategic initiative requiring inventiveness, leadership and close collaboration between senior management across our four universities.

GW4 Council, which meets biannually, brings together our four Vice-Chancellors to define the Vision for the Alliance and provide the mandate for our work.

GW4 Board, which meets quarterly, includes Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Pro-Vice Chancellors for Research, Directors of Research and Programme Managers to oversee and implement the delivery of the GW4 Vision.

The GW4 Director reports to both bodies. Meet our Council and Board members:


GW4 Council




Professor Hugh Brady is a graduate of University College Dublin, he trained in general medicine and was awarded PhD and MD degrees for research in renal physiology and molecular medicine. His academic career has included positions at Harvard and the University of Toronto, and he is an international authority on the pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease.

In 2004 he was appointed President and Chief Officer of University College Dublin, and led a ten year strategic and physical transformation. He has held several leadership roles, including as a member of Ireland’s Higher Education Authority, and Chairman of the Universitas 21 Network of global research universities. He is a non-Executive Director of the Kerry Group plc and ICON plc. He was awarded the Robert Menzies Medal from the University of Melbourne.

Professor Bernie Morley, acting Vice-Chancellor and Provost, University of Bath

Professor Morley is a Professor of Molecular Genetics and joined the University of Bath, from Imperial College, London, as Pro Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) in 2010. In May 2015, he became Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost with responsibility for the University’s strategic and operational planning. He completed his first degree at the University of Liverpool and his DPhil in Molecular Immunology at the University of Oxford. His research and publications have focussed on the genetics of autoimmune diseases and he has published widely in the area of autoimmune genetics and the Complement System.

Professor Colin Riordan, President and Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University

Professor Colin Riordan took up the post of President and Vice-Chancellor on 1 September 2012. Previously he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex, having been appointed in October 2007. He moved to Essex from Newcastle University, where he had been Pro Vice-Chancellor and Provost of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences since August 2005.

He has published widely on post-war German literature and culture, including writing and editing books on the writers Jurek Becker, Uwe Johnson and Peter Schneider. Other research interests include the history of environmental ideas in German culture.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Exeter

Sir Steve has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter since October 2002. He is currently Chair of the UCAS Board; Board Member of the Russell Group, UUK, Heart of the South West LEP, THE Editorial; Chair of the International Policy Network of UUK; a Trustee of the Education and Employers Task Force, and of the Eden Project. He was President of Universities UK (UUK) from 2009-2011.

From 2007 – 2010, he led for higher education on the Prime Minister’s National Council of Excellence in Education. He was also a member of the Institute for Public Policy Research’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education. He was knighted in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to higher education locally and nationally.


GW4 Board


Professor Kim Graham, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Enterprise), Cardiff University

Chair of GW4 Board

Professor Kim Graham graduated from Edinburgh University with a BSc (1st Class Hons) in Biological Sciences, during which time she was awarded the Class Medal for Psychology and the Drever Prize in Psychology. She then completed her PhD at Cambridge University, based at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. Professor Graham remained at the MRC CBU until 2007, working as Programme Leader, prior to moving to Cardiff University in 2007 where she took up a position as Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience. Since then, she has been Theme Lead for Mind, Brain and Neuroscience, as well as Dean of Research and Innovation, in the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences. Professor Graham became Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Enterprise in September 2018. Professor Graham is also Deputy Chair for the MRC Non-clinical Training and Career Development Panel.

Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Bristol

Professor Orpen was born in the West Indies, was educated in England and then at the University of Cape Town and the University of Cambridge and carried out research at Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA. He is chief academic officer of the University and has responsibility for the University’s academic strategy and its delivery. His research interests include structure determination using single crystal diffraction, computational and chemoinformatics studies using structural databases and their application to crystal engineering and ligand design.

Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Bath

Professor Jonathan Knight is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Bath, where he is also an active researcher in photonics within the Department of Physics. He did his PhD at Cape Town, and held postdoctoral positions at the École Normale Supérieure (Paris) and Southampton before moving to Bath in 1996. He is a frequent invited speaker at conferences, has published over 250 papers, and has an established track record of translating academic research into commercial value.


As Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International & Doctoral), Professor Bradshaw is responsible for the growth and development of the University’s new Doctoral College as well as leading the international development of the University of Bath. Professor Bradshaw studied for his undergraduate and MPhil degrees in Zoology at the University of Oxford before joining the University of Edinburgh as a Research Fellow. He has extensive experience in doctoral training, having previously worked as Head of the Graduate School (2007-2009) and as Director of Postgraduates (2009-2013) at the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at Edinburgh. As International Dean of the College since 2009, Professor Bradshaw has been responsible for leading their international strategy and coordinating the recruitment and academic management of international research, staff and PhD links and exchanges.

Professor Karen Holford, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University

Professor Holford works closely with the Vice-Chancellor and Pro Vice-Chancellors to provide leadership and deliver the goals of Cardiff University strategy. Prior to taking on the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Holford led Cardiff University’s College of Physical Sciences and Engineering for five years as Pro Vice-Chancellor. Since moving into academia over 26 years ago, she has helped to build the now substantial international reputation of acoustic emission research at Cardiff, in particular the experimental work.

Professor MArk Goodwin, Deputy vice-chancellor (external engagement), University of Exeter

Professor Mark Goodwin graduated from the University of Sussex, before completing his PhD at the London School of Economics. He joined the staff at Exeter in 2004, and prior to this was Director of the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He became Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Exeter in 2013, having previously been Dean of the College of Life and Environmental Sciences. Mark leads on Innovation and External Engagement for the University within the UK and is also responsible for the University’s activities at our Cornwall Campus. He is also the University lead for equality and diversity.

Professor Neil gow, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Impact), University of Exeter

Professor Neil Gow is Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Impact and Professor of Microbiology at the University of Exeter. Professor Gow was appointed in September 2018. He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh where he obtained his Bachelors degree in Microbiology and went on to receive his PhD in 1982 from the University of Aberdeen. Following this, Professor Gow undertook a period of postdoctoral research at the National Jewish Hospital for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine and University of Colorado, Denver, USA. He was appointed as a Lecturer to the University of Aberdeen and “received” a personal Chair in 1995. At the University of Aberdeen Professor Gow held various senior positions including Head of Microbiology Research Programme, 2002-2011, Director of Research and Commercialisation, College of Life Sciences and Medicine, 2011 – 2015 and Co-Director, MRC Centre for Medical Mycology, 2017-2018.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Bristol

Professor Canagarajah was born and educated in Sri Lanka. He received his BA (Hons) and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Cambridge in 1989 and 1993 respectively. He joined the University of Bristol in 1993 and became a Professor of Multimedia Signal Processing in 2004. He has served as the Faculty of Engineering Research Director (2006-2009), Head of Department of Computer Science (2009-2010), Head of Merchant Venturers School of Engineering (2010-2011) and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering (2011-2014).

Dr Sarah Perkins, GW4 Director

Dr Sarah Perkins is GW4 Director, with responsibility for leading and managing the GW4 Alliance, and developing and delivering its overall strategy.

Prior to taking the role of GW4 Director, Sarah managed a world class research portfolio at Imperial College London’s Faculty of Medicine, one of the largest medical faculties in Europe. Appointed in 2009, her role involved developing and delivering research strategy, and leading initiatives such as Research Excellence Framework submission, and working closely with several NHS Trusts through the Imperial Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) to foster collaboration and implement research strategy at a senior level, exemplified by delivering and renewing one of the largest NIHR Biomedical Research Centres. Her achievements were recognised in 2013 when she was shortlisted in the Women of the Future Awards, and she is also a Fellow of Westminster Abbey Institute.