Press release

Queen to bestow new Regius Professorships on outstanding Universities

To mark the Diamond Jubilee, up to six Regius Professorships are to be awarded by The Queen to universities across the UK.

12 October 2012

To mark the Diamond Jubilee, up to six Regius Professorships are to be awarded by The Queen to universities across the UK for their excellence in teaching and research. The Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, Chloe Smith, and the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, today invited universities to apply for the title of Regius Professor to be bestowed on an outstanding position within their institution. Read entry guidelines here.

The Queen will bestow the honour on up to up to six institutions after taking advice from Ministers, who will in turn be advised by a panel of eminent academics led by Sir Graeme Davies, Chair of the Higher Education Policy Institute and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of London. The title conveys no extra funding or powers, but brings the prestige of the chair having been endorsed by the Crown.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, said:

Bestowing a Regius Professorship is a tremendous and exceptional honour. I’m extremely pleased that The Queen will be using her Jubilee year to recognise the outstanding quality of teaching and research that UK higher education institutions can offer.

I have no doubt that it will be a highly competitive process, with a wide selection of strong bids to choose from.

Chloe Smith, the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, said:

Britain’s universities are renowned all over the world for the quality of their teaching and research, and I am delighted that The Queen has agreed to honour outstanding institutions with new Regius Professorships. This is a rare privilege, with only a handful created in the past century, and I am really looking forward to seeing applications that reflect the excellence and diversity of our higher education institutions.

Universities have until 23 November to submit an application setting out why they believe that one of their departments is so exceptional that they should receive the honour of a Regius Professorship.

Applications will be judged on:

  • the excellence of the University’s work in the proposed discipline
  • the recognition the discipline has gained, nationally and internationally, regardless of how long it has been studied; and
  • other factors, such as the chance to mark a significant event in history of the institution or discipline.

In the past, Regius Professorships have been created when a university chair is founded or endowed by a Royal patron. To date they are limited to a handful of the ‘ancient’ universities of the United Kingdom and Ireland, namely Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dublin.

The creation of Regius Professorships falls under the Royal Prerogative, and each appointment is approved by the Monarch on ministerial advice. Before 2009, the most recent Regius Professorship was created by Queen Victoria.

The results of the competition will be announced early in 2013.

Notes to editors

  1. Applications should be made in person by the Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor of a university and must be no longer than 2 pages or 1000 words. Read entry guidelines here. A scoring system based on the criteria, with greatest weight given to the excellence of the university’s work in the proposed discipline and the eminence of the incumbent professor, will be used:
    • the excellence of the University’s work in the proposed discipline (1-20 points);
    • the recognition the discipline has gained, nationally and internationally, regardless of how long it has been studied (1-20 points); and
    • other factors, such as the chance to mark a significant event in history of the institution or discipline (1-4 points).
  2. Applications should be sent to the Cabinet Office, Cabinet Office Regius Professorships, Constitutional Policy Team, Parliament and Constitution, Division, 4th Floor Orange Zone, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ,
    or to Regius@cabinet-office.gsi.gov.uk

Sir Graeme Davies

Sir Graeme Davies is currently the chair of the Higher Education Policy Institute. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of London until 2010 and has been Principal of the University of Glasgow and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool. He has also served as Chief Executive of the Universities Funding Council (UFC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in Britain, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Sir Graeme has also held Visiting Professorships in New Zealand, Brazil, China, Argentina, South Africa, Israel and India.

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