University of Leeds appoints new vice-chancellor

Professor Simone Buitendijk will replace current vice-chancellor Sir Alan Langlands from September

Professor Simone Buitendijk has been appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Leeds.

She will join the Russell Group institution on 1 September 2020, when Sir Alan Langlands steps down after seven years as vice-chancellor.

“I am honoured to be appointed as vice-chancellor of the University of Leeds,” said Prof Buitendijk. “The university has an impressive track record in education and research. It has clearly been thriving under the leadership of Sir Alan Langlands and I am thrilled to be provided with the opportunity to build on these strong foundations.

“I am looking forward to collaborating with the extremely engaged and talented community of students, staff and alumni to further strengthen the university’s role regionally, nationally and globally. Together we can enhance its impact through excellent, societally relevant research and through training the next generation of global citizens with high quality, innovative education.”

Simone Buitendijk is the perfect person to take the university forward into the new decade – David Gray

Prof Buitendijk joins the University of Leeds from Imperial College London, where she has spent four years as vice-provost (education) and professor of maternal and child health.

Born in The Hague, Prof Buitendijk studied medicine at Utrecht University and earned a masters of public health at Yale School of Medicine. In the Netherlands, she ran a large research group at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and held concurrent professorships – in maternal and child health and midwifery studies – at Leiden University Medical Centre and the University of Amsterdam Medical Centre. She also served as vice-rector at the former.

Throughout her career, she has worked to strengthen the links between education and research, led initiatives to further equality, diversity and inclusion and championed digital and online learning.

Unanimous decision

The appointment follows an extensive international search and the unanimous recommendation of a panel chaired by the pro-chancellor, David Gray.

“Simone Buitendijk is the perfect person to take the university forward into the new decade,” said Mr Gray.

“She has a clear vision for how research and education should work in tandem in a global university with strong civic roots; an impressive record of institutional change management; and an exemplary grasp of the moral purpose of higher education, particularly in relation to diversity, participation and inclusion.

“Her experience in academic leadership in Europe will be a real asset as we seek to enhance our international perspective. I look forward to working with her in the years to come.”


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