VC Hugh Brady announces he’s leaving Bristol Uni after six years in charge

Professor Brady will join Imperial College London next August

Vice-Chancellor Professor Hugh Brady has this morning announced he is set to leave Bristol University at the end of the current academic year.

Brady, who took over as Vice-Chancellor and President in September 2015, has been appointed as the new President of Imperial College London.

He described his decision to step down as “very difficult”. He added: “Leading this great university for the past six years has been a highlight of my career”.

Professor Brady became Bristol’s 13th Vice-Chancellor when he took over from Professor Sir Eric Thomas. Under his leadership, the university has placed a greater emphasis on its role as a civic institution.

Launched in 2016, the Bristol Scholars programme was created to help disadvantaged local students gain entry to the university.

Brady also leaves having overseen plans for a new city centre campus. Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus is promised to deliver an estimated £626 million to the regional economy over the next 10 years. Work is expected to begin next year with the campus anticipated to open in 2025.

Professor Brady has also come under fire during his time as Vice-Chancellor, especially during the 18 months between October 2016 and April 2018 when 11 Bristol Uni students died by suspected suicide.

More recently, he has faced repeated criticism from MPs and Jewish organisations over the lack of response to comments made by Professor David Miller in February.

Brady has been quick to heap praise on Bristol students. In his message to students, he said: “Above all, I am proud of you, our students. Your tenacity, intelligence and passion never cease to amaze me. Every one of you plays a vital part in our University community and fantastic city.”

Bristol Uni Chancellor, Sir Paul Nurse, paid tribute to Professor Brady’s “outstanding leadership”. He said: “Professor Brady has delivered outstanding leadership to our university, guided by a bold strategic plan which has seen the university pursue new teaching and research initiatives, invest in new facilities and infrastructure projects, while strengthening its position as a research-intensive university.”

Jack Boyer, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “As a strong advocate of partnership and collaboration, Professor Brady has driven the University’s economic, social and cultural contribution to the Bristol region– a focus that will continue with the current leadership team.”

He went on to say: “The University of Bristol’s international activity, reach and global prominence have also grown rapidly, with partnerships and collaborative agreements across the globe.

“Professor Brady has made an enormous contribution to securing a very positive future for our university, to supporting the higher education sector more widely, and to the city of Bristol.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Professor Brady. Imperial is gaining an outstanding leader and I wish him the very best for the future.”

The university will now begin its global search for Brady’s replacement and Bristol’s 14th Vice-Chancellor and President.

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