Professor Lisa Roberts appointed as GW4 Chair of Council

September 14, 2020

The GW4 Alliance has announced the appointment of Professor Lisa Roberts, the University of Exeter’s new Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, as the new Chair of the GW4 Council.

Professor Lisa Roberts took up the position as Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter at the start of the month (1st September), taking over from Professor Sir Steve Smith who has held the post since October 2002.

Professor Lisa Roberts will also replace Sir Steve Smith as the Chair of GW4 Council. The GW4 Council provides a mandate for the Alliance and is responsible for defining GW4’s strategic direction. The Council comprises the Vice-Chancellors of the four GW4 universities; Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, and meets quarterly.

Lisa joins Exeter from the University of Leeds where she held the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation. At Leeds, Lisa led a step change in the income, quality, and impact of world-leading research, including the recruitment and development of world-leading academics. She also led initiatives to increase opportunities for students and was a keen champion of interdisciplinary working. Lisa has a track record of building strong business and civic partnerships in a range of vital UK sectors to tackle major societal challenges.

Professor Lisa Roberts said: “I am delighted to join the GW4 Alliance as Chair of the GW4 Council and look forward to working with colleagues across the Alliance to harness the power of research and innovation for our region and beyond.

“The collective impact of the GW4 alliance is remarkable, from the £2.9m we have invested to date in 93 collaborative research programmes between our universities, we have generated over £46m in external research income. This means that for every £1 GW4 spends on collaborative research communities, it captures an impressive £15 in external research awards. The Alliance supports research talent at all levels, leading on over 30 doctoral training programmes and developing flagship communities of research excellence such as the GW4 Water Security Alliance – one of the largest water research consortia in the world.

“It is a time of major challenge and opportunity in higher education. GW4 demonstrates beyond doubt that collaboration is at the heart of research discovery and impact. I look forward to building on GW4’s achievements over the past five years by harnessing our collective strengths for the good of the region and the UK.”

The GW4 Alliance also welcomes a new Board Chair this month as Professor Jonathan Knight, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Bath takes over from Professor Kim Graham, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Enterprise at Cardiff University.

Professor Jonathan Knight said: “On behalf of GW4, I would like to thank Kim for her excellent leadership and direction as Chair of GW4 Board and also to Sir Steve Smith for his long-term commitment to GW4. I look forward to working with colleagues across the alliance, including Lisa, to help to deliver GW4’s vision for world-class collaborative research and innovation on a global scale.”

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