Professor John Latham announced as new Alliance chair

Professor John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, has been elected as the new Chair of University Alliance, the mission group representing Britain’s universities for cities and regions.

He takes up the role this month replacing Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol, who has served as Alliance Chair since 2012. 

As the government devolves powers and budgets away from Whitehall to cities and regions, University Alliance has published a series of reports focused on the regional leadership role of universities, working collaboratively with civic leaders and others.  

Following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, University Alliance will focus on the ways in which modern civic universities – rooted in cities and regions – can support the government’s industrial strategy. With strengths in business engagement, research with impact and social innovation, Alliance institutions can play a key role in connecting people with the opportunities of the global economy.

 Professor Julie Lydon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of South Wales, replaces Professor Latham as Deputy Chair of University Alliance, and will serve on UA’s Board of Directors alongside Alliance Treasurer Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University.

Commenting, University Alliance Chair Professor John Latham said:

“The Brexit vote made it clear that too many parts of Britain feel left behind. Theresa May is right to highlight this as one of the biggest challenges facing us as a society. 

 “Civic universities have a critical role to play in meeting the aspirations the new Prime Minister has set out: driving growth in every region, creating jobs and opportunities, bringing communities together and helping to build strong and resilient neighbourhoods. As a group of institutions committed to making a difference in everything we do, University Alliance will focus on making this vision a reality.

“After two decades of fast-paced change in the higher education sector, ministers are right to press ahead with the Higher Education and Research Bill. We will be working constructively to ensure the legislation receives proper scrutiny and that the new system puts students at the heart of the system and supports research excellence wherever it is found.” 

Commenting, University Alliance Chief Executive Maddalaine Ansell said:

“We welcome Professor John Latham to his role as Chair of University Alliance. For Britain and for the higher education sector it is a time of great uncertainty, but also huge opportunity.

“As a group of institutions, we believe that universities have aresponsibility to their cities and regions. This is even more important as the UK finds its new place in the world.

“We thank Steve for his dedication, guidance and service over the past four years. He has helped put in place a strong foundation which we will build on in the coming months and years.” 

Notes to editors:

 1. Prof John Latham became Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of Coventry University in 2014, having previously served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Business Development at the university for eight years. 

He was instrumental in securing the creation of Coventry’s £32m Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering in collaboration with Unipart Manufacturing Group – the ‘faculty on the faculty floor’ – which brings an innovative approach to teaching on the front line of industry, as well as delivering groundbreaking research.

Serving as a Board Member and Sub-Group Chair on Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, he played a key role in the area’s successful City Deal submission as well as the West Midlands Combined Universities initiative, focused on the strong regional leadership and civic role of universities.

2. University Alliance’s Regional Leadership Series of publications:

Developing Productive Places: The role of universities in skills ecosystems (August 2016)

Creating Innovative Regions: The role of universities in local growth and productivity (June 2016)

Supporting Thriving Communities: The role of universities in reducing inequality (April 2016)

Building Healthy Cities: The role of universities in the health ecosystem(February 2016)


For press enquiries please contact Gabriel Huntley, Head of Communications and External Relations on 07890 626099 or email .

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