Arc Universities


The AUG Governing Board is made up of the senior representatives from the Arc universities. Working together with Government, the Arc’s LEPs, Growth Boards and business, to deliver the Arc’s economic development goals.

Professor Alistair Fitt
Chair, Arc Universities Group & Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University
Professor Alistair Fitt is the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University. Alistair was previously Pro Vice-Chancellor at Oxford Brookes and had a remit that covered all research and knowledge exchange at the University. Alistair joined Oxford Brookes in March 2011 from the University of Southampton where he worked for 22 years, latterly as the Dean and then Head of the School of Mathematics before becoming Pro Vice-Chancellor, International. He studied at Lincoln College, Oxford and specialises in industrial applied mathematics research. He has published three books and more than 90 research papers and has spent many years attending study groups with industry all over the world, where real unsolved industrial problems are studied by groups of mathematicians. Alistair’s research centres on two main areas, namely the flow of glass, food and other complex fluids, and flow and deformation in human eyes. A mathematician, he has published extensively and has many external research connections. He served as Executive Secretary of the world applied mathematics society (ICIAM) for eight years, and from Jan 2018 - Jan 2020 he was the President of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA).

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Professor Karen Holford CBE
Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield University.
Professor Karen Holford CBE is Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor at Cranfield University.  She was previously Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University.  In 2018, Karen received a CBE for services to engineering and the advancement of women in engineering, and in 2019 received the Suffrage Science award in Physical Sciences and Engineering. As Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor at Cranfield University, Karen serves on the Oxford-Cambridge Arc Leaders Group, Midlands Innovation University Partnership Board, and Universities UK Policy Group on Security.

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Professor Rebecca Bunting
Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Bedfordshire
Professor Rebecca Bunting took office as Interim Vice Chancellor at the University of Bedfordshire in January 2020. Prior to that she was formerly the Vice Chancellor at Bucks New University. Professor Bunting is a founding director of the Higher Education Academy and of its successor organisation, Advance HE. She is also the Chair of a number of national HE committees for learning and teaching, and widening participation. She has conducted research and published in the field of children’s language and literacy development, educational linguistics and pedagogy. She graduated from Girton College, University of Cambridge with a degree in English Literature and took postgraduate qualifications at London University. She began her career teaching in London comprehensive schools, moving into higher education as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Roehampton. She later became Dean of Education at Anglia Ruskin University and Pro-Rector at the University of Northampton. From there she moved to the University of Portsmouth in 2004 as Pro Vice Chancellor and from 2007 as Deputy Vice Chancellor.

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Professor Tim Blackman
Vice Chancellor, The Open University
Professor Tim Blackman joined The Open University as Vice-Chancellor in October 2019.Tim has held senior positions at several universities, including a prior appointment as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Quality at The Open University, and social sciences Deanships at Teesside University and Oxford Brookes University. Most recently, he served as Vice-Chancellor at Middlesex University.  As Vice-Chancellor, Tim is the chief academic and administrative officer of the University, responsible for providing strategic leadership through his senior executive team, championing the interests of the institution at the highest levels with government, policy makers and funders, and ensuring the long term financial and operational sustainability of the OU.

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Professor Patrick Grant
Vesuvius Chair of Materials, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, University of Oxford
Patrick has been the Vesuvius Professor of Materials since 2004, Deputy Head of the Mathematical Physical and Life Sciences Division from 2012-14, and was Head of the Department of Materials 2015-2018. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2010. His research concerns the manufacture of super-capacitors and batteries, three-dimensional printing, and new alloys for cleaner power generation. He was a founding academic of the Begbroke Science Park and is a non-executive director of Oxford University Innovation. As Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research he works closely with Oxford colleagues to create an environment conducive to world-leading applied and curiosity-driven research, and with external funders to help realise our joint research ambitions. Professor Grant chairs the Research and Innovation Committee and is the University’s academic lead for the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

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Professor Andy Neely OBE
Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge
Professor Andy Neely is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge and former Head of the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM). He is a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College and Director of the Centre for Digital Built Britain and Founding Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance. He is widely recognised for his work on the servitisation of manufacturing, as well as his work on performance measurement and management. Previously he has held appointments at Cranfield University, London Business School, Cambridge University, where he was a Fellow of Churchill College, Nottingham University, where he completed his PhD and British Aerospace. He was Deputy Director of AIM Research – the UK’s management research initiative – from 2003 until 2012 and was elected a Fellow of the Sunningdale Institute in 2005, a Fellow of the British Academy of Management in 2007, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2008, a Fellow of the European Operations Management. Association in 2009 and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2018. He received an OBE for services to Research and to University/Industry Collaboration in 2020.

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Professor Roderick Watkins
Vice Chancellor, Anglia Ruskin University
Professor Roderick Watkins was appointed Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University in February 2019. He first joined Anglia Ruskin in 2014, as Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, before being appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) in 2015. Prior to joining ARU, he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Canterbury Christ Church University, where he was appointed Professor of Composition and Contemporary Music in 2005. He was a member of the Advisory Group for Lord Stern’s Review of the Research Excellence Framework (2015-16), and the Research England/UUK Working Group developing the Knowledge Exchange Concordat (2018). He was for many years a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, and has wide ranging experience of external examining, peer reviewing and research panel membership. He also has wide ranging experience as a trustee or board member of a number of arts, education and charitable organisations.

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Professor Nick Braisby
Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer, Buckinghamshire New University,
Professor Nick Braisby is Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer at Buckinghamshire New University, having joined the University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor in September 2017 from the University of West London where he had held the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor since 2013. Prof Braisby is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He has held posts at London South Bank University, the University of Winchester, the Open University, and London Guildhall University. He studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge and then read for a PhD in Cognitive Science at the University of Edinburgh. Prof Braisby obtained a British Academy postdoctoral research fellowship held at the London School of Economics.

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Professor Anne-Marie Kilday
Vice Chancellor and Professor of Criminal History,University of Northampton
Professor Anne-Marie Kilday is Vice Chancellor and Professor of Criminal History at the University of Northampton. She writes and researches on various aspects of criminal history, particularly focusing on violent behaviour and gendered criminality. Professor Kilday started her academic career in Scotland working at the University of Strathclyde and then the University of Glasgow. She joined Oxford Brookes University in 2000 as a Lecturer in Early Modern History and progressed her career at the University securing various promotions from Principal Lecturer through to Dean. She was promoted into the senior leadership team becoming the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer and Impact in 2012 and then became Pro Vice-Chancellor Student Experience & University Community, with institutional responsibility for all aspects of both student and staff experience, in 2018 and continued in that role until she left for the University of Northampton.

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