Professor Saul Becker joins University of Sussex as Deputy Vice-Chancellor

The University of Sussex has appointed Professor Saul Becker as its Deputy Vice-Chancellor, reporting to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adam Tickell.

Professor Becker joins Sussex from the University of Birmingham, where he has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor since 2014 in a role that encompasses the leadership of the College of Social Sciences as well as institutional responsibilities both locally and internationally. 

Prior to this Professor Becker was Assistant Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation, Faculty Director of Research for the Social Sciences and Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham from 2006–14. He was an Institute Director of Research from 2004–06 at the University of Birmingham - having joined from Loughborough University, where he established and led research centres and innovative teaching programmes from 1990–2004.

As Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Sussex, Professor Becker will take on a wide-ranging role that incorporates overall responsibility for the University’s eleven schools including faculty affairs, academic strategy and planning. As well as deputising for the Vice-Chancellor as necessary, Professor Becker will be responsible for leading on some of the University’s current and emerging strategic priorities.

Commenting on the appointment, the Vice-Chancellor, Adam Tickell said: “I am delighted that Saul will be joining us. He shares our ambition for Sussex. Saul has led on many of the institutional priorities we need to build on and we will undoubtedly benefit from his direction and experience as we enter a new era that will encompass new political, regulatory and economic considerations for us all.

“Not only has Saul led a large, diverse and successful College, he is also an active and distinguished researcher and scholar. As the recognised world leader in research and policy on ‘young carers’ [children with caring responsibilities in the home], with over 500 publications and keynote conference papers, and as a REF2014 Panel Member, he undoubtedly understands the pressures, challenges and opportunities that academics face. He will be a major force in helping us to improve the experience of our students and staff by working closely with the Heads of Schools and throughout the University. 

“Through his research with vulnerable children and young people, as well as his direct work with marginalised groups and local communities I also strongly value his sense of social justice, fairness, inclusion and community engagement - something I know our community cares about so strongly.”

Professor Becker added: “The University of Sussex has an enviable reputation for quality and engagement; with a distinctive vibrant, progressive, critical, multidisciplinary character; in a wonderful location. I really look forward to helping to capitalise even more on this sense of place and purpose. Sussex makes a national and world-leading contribution and I want to be a part of that as the University enters a new phase that will no doubt build on its national and global influence and distinction. 

“I believe strongly in creating working and learning environments where quality and excellence is recognised, valued, celebrated and rewarded and all colleagues and students are able to express themselves openly. I’m very confident that’s what the community at Sussex strives for too. As someone with solid roots in Brighton, it feels very much like I’m coming home. I can’t wait to join you.”

As Head of the College of Social Sciences at Birmingham University, Professor Becker has been responsible for 11,000 students, 875 staff and an annual turnover of more than £100m. He has led the College to be the most financially robust in the University during a time when international student numbers have expanded in the College by 30% in three years.

As a member of Birmingham’s Executive Board he has been responsible for leading several of the University’s key strategic priorities. This has included being the lead for Engagement for Influence, one of four key pillars of activity. His stewardship of Birmingham’s pioneering local school sponsorship, work with civic society organisations and local communities, alongside collaborations with other UK universities on international partnerships, have provided him with a deep and wide understanding of the role that universities can play on both a local, regional and global level.  

Professor Becker will join the University in September 2017.

  • Professor Becker is an active academic researcher having secured £500k in research awards during the last year alone, 2015/16. 
  • He has 50 externally funded research projects from a diverse range of funders, with a value of £2.4m as Principal Investigator. 
  • He was promoted to professor at the age of 40 and has held four chairs since then. 
  • He is regarded as the world expert on ‘young carers’ (children aged under 18) and ‘young adult carers’ (aged 18 – 24) who provide care, supervision and support to ill or disabled family members, mostly parents. 
  • He advises governments and policy makers around the world.
  • He is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. 
  • He is a registered social worker.

Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Monday, 25 September 2017