Combined Universities initiative has important role to play says new interim Vice-Chancellor

An experienced Higher Education leader has reiterated the important contribution universities can make to plugging the region’s skills gaps and boosting the economy, after taking on the role as Birmingham City University’s Interim Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Graham Upton, who was appointed to the post last month, has confirmed his support for the West Midlands Combined Universities initiative which aims to support the ambitions of the West Midlands Combined Authority.

Professor Upton said he was delighted to take on the role and that it was vital that universities made efforts to support the needs of their local areas.

He said: “The West Midlands is entering a truly exciting period with the appointment of its first Metropolitan Mayor due next May and more power being put back into the hands of the region.

“While these changes will have a significant impact on the region it is vital that we make the most of the opportunities which are presented and that is why the West Midlands Combined Universities can be so important.

“Taking on this role gives me the perfect opportunity to help support the major changes taking place at the University, and also to continue the important work these three institutions are doing to support businesses, workers and students across the region.”

Professor Upton has previously had experience leading successful universities including ten years at the helm of Oxford Brookes University.

He has extensive knowledge of the West Midlands having been born in Birmingham and previously served as Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Birmingham earlier in his career.