Two new appointments to lead GW4 Alliance governance teams

November 8, 2022

The GW4 Alliance is pleased to announce a new Chair of Council, Chair of Board and several new Board members. GW4 is a major strategic initiative requiring close collaboration between senior management across our four universities: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.

The GW4 Council meets on a quarterly basis and brings together our four Vice-Chancellors to define the vision for the Alliance and provide the mandate for our work. The GW4 Board, which also meets quarterly, includes Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Provost, Pro-Vice Chancellors for Research, Associate Pro-Vice Chancellors, Dean of Research, Environment and Culture, Directors of Research, and GW4 Programme Managers to oversee and implement the delivery of the GW4 Vision. The GW4 Director reports to both bodies.

Professor Ian White, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bath, will lead as GW4 Chair of Council from August 2022. He takes over from Professor Lisa Roberts, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at the University of Exeter, who has been in post since September 2020.

Professor White was appointed as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Bath in September 2018. After completing his PhD in 1984, he was appointed as Research Fellow and Assistant Lecturer at the University of Cambridge.

Professor White has carried out substantial research in the field of optoelectronics and optical communications. Highlights of his research include the invention of new techniques for transmitting signals at low cost over optical fibre links for data and wireless communication systems. Several of these advances have made a commercial impact and he has published over 1,000 journal and conference papers.

Talking about his appointment, Professor White said: “I am delighted to be appointed to the post of GW4 Alliance Chair of Council. GW4’s approach to interdisciplinary, collaborative research is crucial in helping to address major regional and global issues such as net zero, climate change and sustainability, and antimicrobial resistance, and I look forward to leading the Alliance in our next chapter as we seek to strengthen new and existing partnerships between business and academia.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Lisa for her excellent governance and leadership of GW4 over the past two years.”

GW4 also welcomes a new Chair of Board, with Professor Phil Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor (PVC) for Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol, replacing Professor Sarah Hainsworth, PVC for Research at the University of Bath.

Professor Taylor took on the role of PVC for Research and Enterprise in September 2020. He is an internationally leading researcher and industrial expert in energy systems, who has worked in industry and academia for over 25 years. He joined Newcastle University in 2013 as Dean and Director of the multidisciplinary Institute for Sustainability, and later, became the Head of the School of Engineering.

Professor Taylor leads the EPSRC Supergen Energy Networks Hub, which brings together industrial and academic partners (including Bath and Cardiff universities) with other energy network stakeholders to gain a deeper understanding of the interactions and interdependencies of energy networks, and researches the challenges of technology, policy, data, markets and risk for energy networks.

In addition to being a Visiting Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Professor Taylor is also a non-executive director of Northern Powergrid and a member of the Customer Engagement Group for Wales & West Utilities. Professor Taylor also serves on the Board of Trustees of the national fuel poverty charity, National Energy Action (NEA). During 2022, Professor Taylor was appointed by Sir Patrick Vallance to the Government’s Net Zero Innovation Board.

Professor Taylor said: “On behalf of GW4, I would like to thank Sarah for her excellent leadership as Chair of GW4 Board.

“I am delighted to be appointed to the post of GW4 Alliance Chair of Board. This is a particularly exciting time for GW4 as we near our 10-year anniversary and work on a new vision and strategy launch. The collective impact of GW4 is impressive, the Alliance has invested £3.1 million in over 100 collaborative research and innovation communities across the four universities, generating a significant grant income of £62.8 million. GW4 also supports university staff including important work with our ECR and technical communities and sharing best practice across our institutions.

“I look forward to working even closer with colleagues across GW4 to champion research and innovation, delivering world leading research and innovation for our region and beyond.”


Learn more about our Governance, Board, and Council members – GW4 Board and GW4 Council.