James Stirling to be Imperial's first Provost


Professor James Stirling

Professor James Stirling has been named Provost of Imperial College London

Professor James Stirling CBE FRS has been named Provost of Imperial, and becomes the first person to occupy the new position at the university. His appointment follows an international search after changes to the College's governance, which created the new role, were announced in April 2012. 

Professor Stirling, 59, is an internationally renowned theoretical particle physicist and is currently the Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy and Head of the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge. He will take up his role at Imperial by the beginning of August 2013. 

Professor Stirling has published over 300 research papers in an academic career that has spanned appointments in the USA, Switzerland and the UK. Becoming a full Professor at the age of 39, he was the founder of an internationally recognised particle physics institute at Durham University, where he also served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999, and has chaired a number of UK Research Council scientific committees. 

In Imperial’s new leadership structure, which separates the responsibilities of the former Rector position, the Provost will be responsible for the College’s core academic mission - education, research and translation. He will report to the President and Rector, who will in future give greater emphasis to the College’s external affairs both in the UK and overseas. 

Announcing the appointment to staff today, Sir Keith O’Nions, President and Rector of Imperial said: 

"It is entirely fitting that the first Provost at Imperial College London will be James Stirling, an individual who has an outstanding scientific mind as well as a track record of leadership in universities, and of service to the national academic community. We look forward very much to welcoming James into our academic community and to working with him towards the goals we have identified that will take Imperial to new heights over the decades to come." 

Professor Stirling said: 

"I’ve admired Imperial from afar for many years and I believe strongly in what Imperial has always valued. To me that means excellence in scholarship – both teaching and research – and excellence in innovation and taking our knowledge outwards to address big societal challenges.

"I am impressed that Imperial has a very clear view on what it needs to do to grow its academic mission and maintain this excellence, and I believe Imperial has everything that it takes to provide a great experience for its students, a wonderfully strong affinity for its alumni and supporters, and a brilliant environment for its staff to teach, discover and innovate. I’m very honoured and excited to be asked to help take Imperial to the next level for generations to come."

Chair of Imperial’s Court and Council, and chair of the appointing committee, Baroness Manningham-Buller said: 

"I am delighted that James Stirling has agreed to join Imperial as Provost. We are very fortunate. He is a brilliant physicist and an accomplished academic leader and I know that he will make a profound contribution to Imperial's future success."

Professor Stirling is married and has two adult children. Among his passions and interests he has formed and led a ceilidh band and is a keen follower of rugby and a proud supporter of the Ulster and Irish rugby teams. With his wife Paula, he enjoys hill-walking, kayaking and cycling, particularly around County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

See the press release of this article


John-Paul Jones

John-Paul Jones
Communications and Public Affairs

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