Home > About us > Who we are

Who we are

Our members: vice-chancellors and principals

Our members are the vice-chancellors or principals (executive heads) of universities in the UK. Our services to ​members include:
  • advocacy and representation
  • research and analysis
  • information and advice
  • members’ meetings and conferences

Members are invited to meet four times a year, including at the Members’ Annual Conference every September.

Universities UK is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status and is financed mainly through subscription from its member institutions.


The 24-person Board is elected by our members. It includes the president; vice-presidents for Scotland, Wales, and England and Northern Ireland; the treasurer and the chairs of the Policy Networks. The president nominates up to six other members to serve on the board.

The board is our main decision-making body and meets five times a year. It focuses on UK-wide issues and those issues in the constituent nations of the UK that have UK-wide implications or interest.

Executive Committee

Our executive comprises the president, three vice-presidents and the treasurer. It meets four times a year and reports to the Board. It acts on behalf of the Board to support and advise the chief executive; to undertake day-to-day monitoring, coordinating, planning and liaison functions; and to authorise action as required between board meetings.


Our president is elected from and by the membership of Universities UK for two academic years and is only eligible for re-election by special resolution. The president chairs all Universities UK Members' Meetings, the Board and the Executive Committee.

The current President is Professor Julia Buckingham CBE​, Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University, whose term of office began on 1 August 2019 and ends on 31 July 2021​. 

Senior management team

Alistair Jarvis is Chief Executive of Universities UK,  and was appointed by the Board to be responsible for the day-to-day management and administration of Universities UK.

Alistair is supported by a senior management team.

Networks and groups

Our networks and groups guide the development of our policies. They are made up of vice-chancellors and work with external experts and contacts to promote universities' interests to a wide audience.

They build and strengthen links with govern​ment agencies, professional bodies, industry and commerce, other education sectors and international audiences.

The current networks are:

  • Funding (Chair: Professor David Phoenix OBE, London South Bank University)
  • Health Education and Research (Chair: Professor Alistair Fitt, Oxford Brookes University)
  • Innovation and Growth (Chair: Professor Quintin McKellar CBE, University of Hertfordshire)
  • International (Chair: Professor Sir Steve Smith, University of Exeter)
  • Longer Term Strategy (Chair: Professor Graham Galbraith, University of Portsmouth)
  • Research (Chair: Professor Paul Boyle CBE, Swansea University)
  • Student (Chair: Professor Debra Humphris, University of Brighton​)
  • Specialist Institutions Forum (Chair: Sir Nigel Carrington, University of the Arts London)

The networks report to the Board through each of the elected chairs.​​​

Membership Committee

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University (Chair)
Professor Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor, University of Kent
Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor, Canterbury Christ Church University

The committee assesses applications against the Membership criteria

Treasurer's Committee 

Professor Paul Layzell (UUK Treasurer) 
Professor Julia Buckingham CBE (UUK President) 
Professor Nick Braisby (Buckinghamshire New University) 
Professor Quintin McKellar CBE (University of Hertfordshire) 
Alistair Jarvis (UUK Chief Executive)

Professor Julia Buckingham

Professor Julia Buckingham CBE

Universities UK

Alistair Jarvis

Alistair Jarvis

Chief Executive
Universities UK

Nicky Old

Nicky Old

Director, Communications and External Relations
Universities UK

Chris Hale

Chris Hale

Director of Policy
Universities UK

Vivienne Stern

Vivienne Stern

Universities UK International

Amanda Wilkinson

Amanda Wilkinson

Director, Universities Wales
Universities Wales