Durham appoints North East regional champion
(5 July 2007)
Durham University has appointed a senior member of staff to expand the University’s role in the North East region and to manage the growth and development of its Queen’s Campus at Stockton.
Professor Ray Hudson, an esteemed economic geographer who has used North East England as the focus for much of his research, has been appointed as the first-ever Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Regional Strategy and Queen’s Campus from August. Prof Hudson is charged with increasing Durham’s strategic interaction with the region at all levels. This will range from working with organisations such as One North East, Tees Valley Regeneration and the NHS, to joining up with community groups which are improving the health and well-being of residents. Prof Hudson, 59, hails from Alnwick in Northumberland, and is an old boy of the former Duke’s Grammar School. He has successfully held a number of senior management roles during his 34-year career at Durham University, is currently director of its Wolfson Research Institute, and has occupied many leadership roles within the regional community over the last three decades. He said: “Durham University has a great position of responsibility within this region. Our staff and students already do a lot of work here but we can and should be doing more. For example, we already have successful science outreach programmes with schools, initiatives relating to community engagement with sport, and we are working with local businesses on knowledge transfer and regional organisations on economic regeneration. “We need to broaden and deepen this engagement and use the wealth of Durham’s talent, ability and resources, at both the Durham and Stockton campuses, to increasingly tackle the real issues that affect our region, such as industrial decline, health, education and environmental sustainability. “Developing Queen’s Campus is a key part of our regional engagement strategy. I first started teaching here in the early nineties when the campus was developing. There were 200 students there, the Holliday Building was surrounded with mud and I used to walk from my car to the building in my wellies. It has come a long way since then – now there are 2,000 students and established research capacity – and it has further potential for growth.” Prof Hudson will be one of three Pro-Vice-Chancellors on Durham’s senior management team. The post replaces the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor, currently held by Professor Phil Jones, who later this year will take up a new position as Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University. Durham University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Chris Higgins, said: “Ray is an internationally-respected academic and he also has outstanding, proven leadership qualities. His experience, skills and persona, combined with his in-depth knowledge of the North East, mean he is the perfect champion of Durham University’s strategy to enhance its contribution to the economic, social, cultural and educational life of the region and to develop the Queen’s Campus in partnership with Tees Valley Regeneration.” Margaret Fay, Chairman of One NorthEast, said: “I look forward to working closely with Prof Hudson in the future. Universities are key to the continued economic development of the North East and to have such a highly skilled and respected Pro-Vice Chancellor operating at a strategic level is great news for Durham University and the wider region.” Joe Docherty, Chief Executive of Tees Valley Regeneration, said: "This appointment is great news for Durham University and the Queen's Campus. It reflects the continuing growth and development of the University in the Tees Valley and shows the importance it places on its base here. As well as offering greater educational opportunities to young people it is also a vital part of the wider regeneration of the area."