Vice-Chancellor to head group of leading research universities

Professor Michael Farthing, Vice-Chancellor

Professor Michael Farthing, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex, is to become the new chair of the 1994 Group of research-intensive universities.

Professor Farthing, who will take up the role in October, said: "I am delighted to be taking up the Chair of the 1994 Group, particularly at a time of such change in higher education. With the coming days expected to see the publication of a White Paper that could be a game changer for all UK universities, it's going to be more important than ever to make the case for the excellent student experience that can only be offered by institutions that combine world class research with outstanding teaching. 

 "1994 Group universities lead the way on this type of student experience. My aim as Chair will be to make sure that our voice is heard in the coming debates, and that the example we set is followed throughout higher education. It is a great honour to be trusted with this task, and I look forward to beginning in October."

Since his appointment at Sussex in 2007, Professor Farthing has shown how a modern strategic approach to university growth and development can deliver highly positive results. Sussex has achieved significant growth in student numbers, seen major improvements in the student experience, developed new streams of income, and undertaken major investment in campus facilities.  The University has also risen to its highest ever position in university league tables.

Paul Marshall, Executive Director of the 1994 Group, said:"As his achievements at Sussex show, Professor Farthing is an outstanding higher education leader. I have no doubt that his talent and vision will have a fantastic impact on the 1994 Group, and I look forward to working with him as he takes up this important role."

The 1994 Group represents 19 of the UK's leading student-focused, research-intensive universities. It was established in 1994 to promote excellence in University research and teaching.

Professor Farthing will take up position as chair of the 1994 Group in October. Current chair Professor Paul Wellings, Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, is leaving to take up a position in Australia.

Notes for editors

  • Professor Michael Farthing was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex in autumn 2007 and since that time he has been the driving force behind strategic institutional development at during a period of profound change in the Higher Education sector. Twelve of the top 20 universities in the Guardian University Guide 2012 league tables published on the 17th May 2011 are 1994 Group members. Nine of the top 20 Universities in the Times Good University Guide 2012 rankings are 1994 Group members.  In 17 major subject areas 1994 Group universities are the UK leaders achieving 1st place in their field (THE RAE subject rankings 2008). 57% of the 1994 Group's research is rated 4* 'world-leading' or 3* 'internationally excellent' (RAE 2008, HEFCE). 10 of the top 200 universities in the 2010-11
  • THE World University Rankings are 1994 Group members.
    The 1994 Group represents: University of Bath, Birkbeck University of London, Durham University, University of East Anglia, University of Essex, University of Exeter, Goldsmiths University of London, Institute of Education University of London, Royal Holloway University of London, Lancaster University, University of Leicester, Loughborough University, Queen Mary University of London, University of Reading, University of St Andrews, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of Surrey, University of Sussex, University of York.
  • University of Sussex press office, Jacqui Bealing and Maggie Clune, tel 01273 678888,

By: Jacqui Bealing
Last updated: Friday, 24 June 2011