December 10, 2012 6:13 pm

University College London names new provost

Michael Arthur

One of the highest-profile roles in higher education outside the US, the chief executive of University College London, will be filled by the current vice-chancellor of the University of Leeds, it was announced on Monday.

Michael Arthur, whose background is in medicine, will take the reins as UCL’s “president and provost” next September, as the large and ambitious London institution continues to claw its way up the world university league tables.

Prof Arthur said: “It is a very great honour to be appointed as the next president and provost of UCL, one of the world’s leading universities.”

Sir Stephen Wall, who chairs UCL’s governing body, said Prof Arthur had been appointed in part because he had “transformed Leeds university’s research and teaching”.

Alongside Oxford and Cambridge, UCL is the UK’s third undisputed world-class, full-spectrum university. The institution, which had income of £869m and assets of £750m in 2011-12,, is at the core of London’s world-leading research capacity.

Prof Arthur, who has been at Leeds since 2004, will inherit UCL’s ambitious plans to expand beyond its current Bloomsbury campus, setting up a new billion-pound centre near the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London.

UCL has particular strength in medicine: it publishes more peer-reviewed research and employs more researchers in the field than any other UK university. It is one of six partners in the Francis Crick Institute, a new medical research facility.

But it is also multidisciplinary. It is home to a renowned art school and, according to the Thomson Reuters media group, is the UK’s second-largest publisher of research on the visual arts, third on the humanities and fourth in the social sciences.

Prof Arthur, who is usually known as “Mick”, will replace Malcolm Grant. Prof Grant will have been in the post for 10 years when he steps down in September. He also chairs the NHS Commissioning Board, the body that oversees the purchase and planning of health service care.

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