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For staff

Professor David Cardwell

He is the academic lead overseeing the University’s budget and capital expenditure.

The role of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategy and Planning is to support and strengthen the academic mission of the University through overseeing the distribution of resources, including the capital programme, and coordinating academic strategy across the institution. Professor David Cardwell has been in the role since August 2018, and the Council has recently confirmed his reappointment until July 2024. 

Since his appointment in 2018, Professor Cardwell has focused on improving the University’s budget process, which has included reforming the planning round to make it less cumbersome, looking at ways to improve financial monitoring and accountability in institutions, and reviewing ambitions and priorities for capital expenditure. Another major focus has been on making sure that there are appropriate academic strategies in place in all University institutions and that these strategies are both based on local visions and also consistent with wider priorities identified by the University leadership.

An important part of Professor Cardwell’s work this past year has been dealing with the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the University’s operating finances. These have included revising the 2020-21 Budget Report to include mitigation for the forecast effect of the pandemic, overseeing resourcing to address the immediate financial effects on the University, and budgeting for the Recovery Programme as we move forward. In addition, he was the academic lead in the safe closure and re-occupation of more than 700 University buildings during the repeated periods of lockdown due to COVID-19.

The rest of his term as Pro-Vice-Chancellor will include a strong focus on how the University recovers from the pandemic. This is not just about ‘balancing the books’ - i.e. mitigating the negative effects of the past year on the University’s operating finances and endowment – but includes thinking about how we can learn from the pandemic’s challenges, and how the University can move forward on a sustainable and stable financial footing that ensures we’re strong enough to survive similar challenges in the future. 

David says: “The past year has certainly been challenging, although, with the help of colleagues across the institution, we have taken the opportunity to begin major reform of the University finances via the Enhanced Financial Transparency (EFT) project, implement a much lighter-touch Planning Round and work with Schools and Non-school institutions to establish their long-term strategic visions. There are many positive lessons to learn from the pandemic, and I’m determined to build on these to improve our ability to operate in the future.”

The five Pro-Vice-Chancellors are responsible for taking forward the University’s strategy and policy development, and supporting the Vice-Chancellor in providing institutional leadership to the University. The remits of the other four Pro-Vice-Chancellors cover education, research, institutional and international relations and enterprise and business relations.