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Appointment of Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships and Engagement and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research

Posted on 3 December 2019

The University of York is delighted to announce that, following a rigorous international recruitment process, it has appointed two new Pro-Vice-Chancellors: Professor Kiran Trehan has been appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships and Engagement, and Professor Matthias Ruth has been appointed as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research.

left to right: Professor Kiran Trehan and Professor Matthias Ruth

Professor Trehan, who is currently the Director of the Centre for Women’s Enterprise, Leadership, Economy & Diversity, Director of External Engagement, and Head of Subject Group Entrepreneurship and Local Economy at the University of Birmingham, will join the University on 1 March 2020.

Professor Matthias Ruth is currently Vice-President (Research and Innovation) and Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta and will take up his position on 1 May 2020.

The PVC for Partnerships and Engagement will join the University Executive Board and is tasked with providing leadership and strategic direction in cultivating and advancing effective collaborations with key institutional partners and will help shape and lead the University’s relationships in York, Yorkshire and the wider North of England. Professor Trehan will harness our research, our teaching and the contribution of our graduates to help drive local and regional economic development, while also seeking to open up economic opportunity across the region, including expanding opportunities to widen access to the university.

The Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research is responsible for the research leadership of the University and the development and implementation of the University’s Research Strategy. Professor Ruth will provide strategic leadership for the University Research Strategy post the 2020 Research Excellence Framework submission, and will shape a clear pathway for building on the University’s exceptional research strengths through the development of a new 2020-2025 strategy. Professor Ruth will join the University Executive Board with a portfolio that has responsibility for strategic oversight of the University’s multi-million pound research grants and contracts, act as the key point of contact with funding bodies and government agencies and lead on the enhancement of the University’s industrial income generation.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charlie Jeffery said, “I am very much looking forward to welcoming Kiran and Matthias to the University and working with both of them to advance the University’s global and civic reputation for excellence. These appointments are of major significance given the importance of these portfolios as we develop a new vision for York that will define the kind of university we want to be in the future, and to shape a new 10 year strategic plan to take us to 2030.

“I am looking forward to working with Kiran to enhance and develop relationships with a broad spectrum of local and regional partners, including City of York, other local authorities and economic development bodies and businesses large and small. We all have a role to play in determining and developing strategies that not only drive economic prosperity, that, through the power of collaboration, also seek to define and deliver a deeper level of inclusive engagement that benefits everyone.”

“Kiran will bring a wealth of experience from her prior role in Birmingham and her broader role in the West Midlands fostering entrepreneurship and business engagement. I am sure that you will all join me in welcoming Kiran to the University when she takes up her role on 1 March”.

In respect of the appointment of Professor Ruth to the role of PVC for Research, Professor Jeffery said, “I am delighted that Matthias has chosen to join York at such an important time and to work with him as he builds on the enormously successful legacy of research excellence and organisation left by his predecessor, Professor Deborah Smith. The changing landscape of research funding and engagement with funding opportunities spanning government, trusts and foundations and industry offers enormous potential for our future and Matthias brings an incredible array of experiences and achievements to the role.

Professor Trehan said, “I am tremendously excited by the opportunity to join the University of York at such a milestone moment in its history, as it seeks to identify a new 10 year vision and strategy. That strategy will impact not only on the University community itself, but will influence and shape our relationships with colleagues and partners across the city and region. I am passionate about the role that universities can play in delivering not only economic but societal value to its local and regional community. Now, more than ever, it is vital that universities are able to articulate the value they bring to society in terms of a positive impact on public good, and I hope very much that I can contribute to the University of York’s ability to build relationships that offer mutual benefit”.

Professor Ruth said, “As academics, we have a unique privilege and responsibility to develop a global community of thought leaders and problem solvers and to foster multi-generational teams that help integrate research, education and engagement. I am excited to join the University of York – a community of people delivering and innovating on a vision of research leadership that values diversity and inclusion, is focused on the region, nation and globally, and is dedicated to fundamental science as well as its use-inspired applications. I cannot think of a better place to help shape its future vision.”

Biographical details for Professor Trehan and Professor Ruth

Professor Kiran Trehan

Kiran Trehan is a key contributor to debates on leadership, enterprise development and diversity in business. She has led a number of leadership, enterprise and business support initiatives and has extensively published a number of journal articles, policy reports, books and book chapters in the field. Her work has been supported by grants from a full range of research funding bodies; including the Economic and Social Research Councils and Arts Humanities Research councils, government departments, regional and local agencies including Local Enterprise Partnerships and Chambers of Commerce and the private sector. She has also received invitations as Guest Editor from reputable international journals (Human Relations, Management Learning, International Small Business Journal), as well as national and international advisory roles that shape debates and policy in diversity and enterprise.

Professor Trehan has a national and international reputation in a senior research capacity: publishing in peer reviewed journals of a high quality; being an invited professor/scholar in Europe and internationally, presenting at a range of policy and research events, conferences and symposia with policy-makers and community networks to pioneer and promote research and engagement which facilitates widening participation. The research embeds the complementary concerns of practitioners, policy-makers and academics by converting academic insights into effective action, policy initiatives and sustainable impact.

She was elected 14th of November 2019 to be the next President of Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE). ISBE is the leading national body for SME research and policy learning. 

In 2018, Professor Trehan was invited to be one of the lead commissioners on the West Midlands Leadership Commission to lead a new research and policy agenda on leadership diversity for Andy Street and the West Midlands combined authority. The final report was commended by the Prime Minister Theresa May and was featured in the Times Higher in 2018.


  • Awarded the business desk Midlands Leadership Awards in the diversity category, for outstanding contribution to leadership, diversity and inclusion. 
  • ESRC Outstanding Impact in Business and Enterprise Prize
  • College of Social Science Impact Prize on Society
  • National Diversity Awards - Best in Education for work on diversity and enterprise
  • NatWest Venus Awards - Awarded the Enterprise Development bridging the gap between academic and business.

Professor Matthias Ruth

Professor Matthias Ruth is currently the Vice-President (Research and Innovation) and Professor in the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. Prior to that he was the director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston. 

Professor Ruth holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and a PhD in geography from the University of Illinois, where he also received training in engineering and biology. He began his academic career in the Department of Geography at Boston University in 1992 and moved to the University of Maryland in 2000, where he was professor and director of the Environmental Policy Program in the Maryland School of Public Policy.

Professor Ruth served in roles of increasing responsibility at the University of Maryland, including the Roy F. Weston Chair in Natural Economics and policy advisor on sustainability to the Chancellor of the 12 universities and colleges that constitute the state-wide system of Maryland. In 2012, Prof Ruth joined Northeastern University in Boston as professor in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs as well as the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Professor Ruth has published 19 books, plus more than 140 papers and book chapters. His inter-disciplinary research focuses on dynamic modelling of natural resource use, industrial and infrastructure systems analysis, and environmental economics and policy. His theoretical work draws on concepts from engineering, economics and ecology, while his applied research uses methods of non-linear dynamic modelling as well as adaptive and anticipatory management. He is a founding editor-in-chief of the journal Urban Climate, a founder of Ecological Economics, and serves on the boards of numerous journals and scientific organizations.

In addition to his record of research excellence, Professor Ruth has demonstrated outstanding leadership in administration and service with a focus on promoting interdisciplinary collaboration in research and teaching. In addition to serving as director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, he was the founding director of Northeastern University’s Resilient Cities Laboratory as well as its Urban Informatics program. In his current role as Vice-President (Research and Innovation) at the University of Alberta – one of Canada’s top-five research-intensive universities – he oversees a research budget exceeding £350million across five campuses and covering a full spectrum of research carried out, for example, in faculties of medicine and dentistry; affiliated hospitals; engineering; business; law; agriculture life and environmental sciences; education; social sciences and humanities; as well as extension services.

Professor Ruth’s interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and cooperation extends outside of academia to the public, private, and non-profit sectors, where he has developed diverse and extensive experience building partnerships, fostering productive collaborations, and attracting external funding. He applies his research to local, regional, national, and global social, economic and environmental challenges, exploring basic scientific questions as well as the investment and policy opportunities his projects present. He has served as an advisor or research contributor to a diverse range of agencies and organizations, such as the OECD, European Commission, Government of Australia, Canadian Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Council on Competitiveness, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, as well as several cities and private companies.


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