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New Waikato University Vice-Chancellor Announced

New Waikato University Vice-Chancellor Announced

The man appointed to be the next Vice-Chancellor of Waikato University, Professor Roy Crawford, has international standing in terms of both research and educational leadership.

Professor Crawford is currently a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and senior pro vice-chancellor at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he has special responsibility for research and development.

Announcing Professor Crawford’s appointment today, Waikato’s Chancellor John Gallagher said: “His research and business skills and experience, coupled with his very high-level academic experience, make him the ideal person to lead the university, particularly at a time when research performance affects our funding and we are looking to start up more businesses based on university-developed intellectual property. His track record in establishing spin-out companies and other outlets for technology transfer is impressive.”

The appointment takes effect from 1 January 2005 after the current Vice-Chancellor Bryan Gould retires.

Professor Crawford, who has previously worked at Auckland University from 1999-2001 and has sons living in New Zealand, says he is very much looking forward to heading a university situated in the heartland of the Waikato.

“Queen’s, like Waikato, is regarded as a very strong regional university. I feel a genuine love for New Zealand and am looking forward very much to helping Waikato University develop its many strengths and to build further on its academic, research and business successes. For example, I was very impressed with Waikato’s performance under PBRF.”

After his time at Auckland University as Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Professor Crawford maintained ongoing research and business interests in New Zealand associated with the establishment of a new polymer research centre. His primary research interest has been in the mechanical properties and processing behaviour of plastics.

For the past three years, Professor Crawford has been part of a small team that manages all aspects of Queen’s University, which has 25,000 students and 3,300 staff.

He has very strong academic and research credentials, including a PhD and DSc from Queen’s; he has published seven books and over 270 papers; and, has been a member of numerous government panels and research grant committees in the United Kingdom. He has been directly involved in a wide range of professional activities and organizations, including consultancies and company directorships.

Also, he has wide experience both in the UK and New Zealand of raising international funds for research purposes.

“His connections and relations with industry internationally are extensive,” says Mr Gallagher, “and he has demonstrated the ability to lead, communicate and execute high-level strategy. He is also an experienced change manager.”

Professor Crawford has had substantial and highly successful experience in Britain’s Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), having led his School of Mechanical and Process Engineering from grade 3 in the 1992 RAE to the top grade 5 in 1996 and again in 2001.

Queen’s is now rated in the top 20 for research power in the UK “which is due in no small measure to Roy’s leadership in this area”, says Queen’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir George Bain.

Mr Gallagher says: “The Waikato University Council is very pleased to have attracted someone of Professor Crawford’s experience and caliber to take on the Vice-Chancellor’s role, and very much looks forward to working closely with him into the future.”

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