New Chair for NatCen Social Research

Posted by pt91 at Jan 24, 2012 10:50 AM |
Professor Sir Robert Burgess, social scientist and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester has been appointed Chair from 23 February 2012
New Chair for NatCen Social Research

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Robert Burgess.

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 23 January 2012

NatCen Social Research, the UK’s leading social research institute, announces the appointment of Professor Sir Robert Burgess as the new Chair of its Board of Trustees. He will succeed Professor Dame Janet Finch who retires in February at the end of her nine year term as a Trustee.  

Professor Sir Robert has been appointed chair for an initial four year term, effective from 23 February 2012. His appointment follows an extensive search process, including advertising the role, led by the Board of Trustees with the support of advisers Gatenby Sanderson.

Professor Sir Robert Burgess is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester and Chair of a number of industry bodies and groups, including the Higher Education Academy. He is also an Academician of the Academy of the Social Sciences.  He was awarded a Knighthood in 2010 for services to Higher Education locally and nationally.

Professor Sir Robert has also held national roles including: President of the British Sociological Association, President of the Association for the Teaching of the Social Sciences and Founding Chair of the UK Council for Graduate Education.  He has been a member of the Council of the Economic and Social Research Council and a member of the British Library Board.  He has been Chair of the Postgraduate Training Board of the Economic and Social Research Council and Chair of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and the Research Information Network.  He has also been Chair of the East Midlands Universities Association and Honorary Secretary of the Society for Research in Higher Education.

He has published widely in the social sciences, especially on social research methodology and sociological studies of schools and higher education institutions.

Outgoing Chair, Professor Dame Janet Finch said:

“We are delighted to have attracted one of the UK’s foremost social scientists to lead NatCen Social Research. It’s a particularly challenging time for any research organisation: the pressure on commissioners’ budgets together with substantial social change and wide ranging policy agendas mean that we need to find new ways of meeting our clients’ needs and delivering social research that works for society.  

Professor Sir Robert is one of the UK’s foremost social scientists with a formidable reputation for rigorous approaches to social research and a commitment to sharing his knowledge and experience with the research community. Our trustees play a key role in setting the strategy for NatCen Social Research, and there is no better person to help the organisation continue to push forward our charitable objective to improve society through high quality social research”.

Chief Executive, Penny Young said:

“As well as his status as an eminent social scientist Professor Sir Robert also brings considerable experience of leading a major organisation. He has been Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester since 1999, and during that time markedly improved its standing in the UK’s university sector. I look forward to working with him and for NatCen Social Research to benefit from his experience and expertise. I would also like to thank Professor Dame Janet for  all the time and wisdom she has generously given to NatCen Social Research since she became a Trustee in 2002 and then our chair in 2007.  We’ve been very lucky to have her.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Robert Burgess said:

“I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to Chair the Board of the leading social research organisation in the UK.  NatCen Social Research has a terrific reputation and I am sure that we are moving into a period where it will be able to offer its services to a wide range of organisations under the guidance and support of its Board.”


Notes to Editors

1. The National Centre for Social Research (NatCen Social Research) is Britain’s leading independent social research institute which aims to promote a better informed society through high quality social research (

2. Professor Dame Janet Finch will retire as chair on 22 February 2012 following nine years as a Trustee; Professor Dame Janet was appointed chair in 2007.

3. Further details of our current Board of Trustees including biographies can be found at

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