Lancaster University appoints renowned theoretical physicist as its new Vice-Chancellor


Lancaster University, one of the eight universities in the N8 Research Partnership, has appointed Professor Andy Schofield as its new Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Schofield is currently Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Birmingham and is also Professor of Theoretical Physics.

He will join Lancaster on 1 May 2020 and become the University’s seventh Vice-Chancellor, succeeding Professor Mark E Smith, who became Vice Chancellor at Southampton University on 1 October 2019.

Professor Schofield said: “I am tremendously excited to be asked to serve as Lancaster University’s next Vice-Chancellor. It is an outstanding and ambitious university, renowned for its research, its high-quality teaching and its collegiality. I look forward to joining colleagues there as an academic as well as Vice-Chancellor as together we continue Lancaster’s success.”

Prof Schofield studied Natural Sciences at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where he graduated in 1989 winning the Mott prize for physics and the Schuldham Plate. He stayed on in Cambridge where he undertook PhD research in the IRC for Superconductivity working on the theory of high temperature cuprate superconductors. He was elected a Research Fellow at Gonville and Caius College and obtained his PhD in 1993.

In 1994 he moved to the USA where he worked at Rutgers, the stat university of New Jersey for two years, before returning to Cambridge. In 1997 Prof Schofield was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to work on theories of non-Fermi liquids. He became Assistant Director of Studies at Gonville and Caius College on the Natural Sciences Tripos.

In 1999 Andy moved to the University of Birmingham and was promoted to Professor of Theoretical Physics in 2002. In that year he won the Institute of Physics’ Maxwell Medal and Prize for work on the emergent properties of correlated electrons. From 2008-2010, he was Director of Research for the College of Engineering and Physical Science. In 2010 he became Head of the Physics and Astronomy School before assuming his current role in 2015.

Lancaster’s Pro-Chancellor Lord Liddle said: “The appointing committee were unanimous in the decision to appoint Andy, who demonstrated that he shares the values and purpose of Lancaster University and has a clear vision for its future success. 

“Not only is he an outstanding academic and leader, but has acted as a champion for equality issues in his current role and is firmly committed to widening participation, equality, diversity and inclusion within universities – issues that Lancaster is working hard to address.”