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Inauguration of Professor Andrew Wathey

Speaking before an audience of over 400 guests, Professor Wathey outlined plans to invest in research and develop stronger regional partnerships as part of a new strategy to further underpin the University’s role in the region’s economic development and to position itself as one of the UK’s leading universities.

Professor Wathey explained: “We are developing a strategy, which will build on Northumbria’s academic potential and further embed the University at the heart of the North East economy. In the coming months and years, there will be a significant investment in research at Northumbria, focused on building areas of strength, which will feed the broad range of our activities, from innovation and knowledge transfer, to learning and teaching, to workforce development. This is an investment in intellectual capital to match the University’s bold developments in infrastructure.

“Northumbria is full of innovation, creativity and energy. Over the past five years the University has deepened and broadened its strengths in teaching and learning, and strengthened its commitment to excellence. It has made itself attractive to highly-qualified students, greatly improved its built estate, with new landmark buildings symbolic of the University’s rising capability and confidence. Northumbria has built a strong position internationally and with students from over 140 countries, we are arguably the most international university in the North East and thus the major Higher Education contributor to the diversity of the City and Region.” 

Professor Wathey believes that Northumbria is ideally poised to play a leading role in engaging with Higher Education institutions, schools and employers, bringing benefits to the University and to the North East economy alike and he is already working closely with the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and NewcastleGateshead City Development Company on Higher and Further Education issues. 

He also plans to place a major focus on improving Northumbria’s research profile and intends to recruit more staff to deliver this aim. 

He said: “Research is fundamental to the sustainability of any university’s intellectual capital. At Northumbria, we have areas of real research excellence and we must continue to build capacity in focused areas, cementing a strategic understanding of the purpose of research, not just as an activity in its own right, but as a structural thread which informs learning, enterprise, innovation and knowledge exchange. 

“Over the past few years Northumbria has made some major advances, including our stunning new campus developments. It is now time to further invest in our staff who will deliver excellence across the board. I want to attract the best staff to Northumbria University, and for the University to be an employer of choice.” 

Professor Wathey says the University’s current position is strong: “With around 32,000 students and 3,000 staff, the largest North East University, we are a significant employer in the region and make a very significant contribution to the region’s economy and regeneration activity. 

“The time is right for Northumbria to step up to the next level, and for us to be clear to the world about our strengths and successes. In the coming months and years we will improve our performance further, making a powerful contribution to the City and Region in the context of horizons and standards that are global.” 

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