Professor Sir Ian Diamond has announced his intention to retire from the position of Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen and has invited Mr Martin Gilbert, Senior Governor to commence a global search for his successor. Sir Ian has agreed to stay in post as Principal and Vice-Chancellor until his successor takes up appointment.
Sir Ian joined the University of Aberdeen as Principal and Vice-Chancellor in April 2010. As Principal he has led the University through transformational change in many areas in particular in enhancing the student experience at Aberdeen through strategies to reduce student dropout, improve performance and to celebrate the co-curriculum. He has transformed the University’s internationalisation agenda with major partnerships emerging in recent years with Wuhan University in China and Curtin University in Australia and the development of overseas campuses in Korea and Qatar. Other significant developments during his time as Principal include:
- Raising the profile of health, safety & wellbeing for staff and students including the launch of a groundbreaking mental health strategy and the introduction of fair workload models;
- A significant growth in international student numbers across the University;
- A founder member of the international AURORA network of Universities;
- Opening of the iconic Sir Duncan Rice Library in September 2012;
- A new world class Aquatics Centre which opened in May 2014;
- The new Rocking Horse Nursery which opened in January 2016 as the first pre-school facility in Scotland to have ‘Passivhaus design’
- Opening of the new state of the art research facilities for the Rowett Institute of Nutrition & Health in January 2017.
In addition to being Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sir Ian over the last seven years has chaired a number of important higher education committees including Universities UK’s Research Policy Network, Universities Scotland’s International Committee, Funding Policy Group and Efficiencies Task Force. He is Chair of British Universities and Colleges Sport and Vice Chair of the Universities and Colleges Admission Services. He has undertaken a major review of higher education funding and student finance in Wales and also led the Universities UK Efficiency and Modernisation Taskforce. Sir Ian is a Trustee of a number of independent charities. He was commissioned as a Deputy Lieutenant of Aberdeen in 2013 and recognised for his services to social science and higher education with the award of a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list 2013.
Mr Martin Gilbert, Senior Governor of the University Court said: “’Sir Ian has agreed to continue to lead the University of Aberdeen while we conduct a global search for a new Principal. Sir Ian has been an outstanding Principal who has taken on many difficult challenges and accomplished a great deal over the last seven and a half years, that will lead to the further advancement of the University as one of the nation’s finest higher education institutions’’.
Commenting on his announcement, Sir Ian said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Principal of the University and I am fortunate to have led a dedicated team of colleagues in every corner of this great institution; together we have introduced major innovations. The University is in very good shape and I believe the time is now right for my successor to build on the firm foundations with which I leave the University.”
The Court of the University will shortly commence the process to appoint a new Principal.