Belfast Telegraph

Vice-Chancellor Paddy Nixon to leave Ulster University

Ulster University’s Paddy Nixon
Ulster University’s Paddy Nixon

By Chris Leebody

Ulster University's Vice-Chancellor Paddy Nixon is set to depart Northern Ireland as he takes up a new role at the University of Canberra.

Professor Nixon will step down from his post in February before moving to the Australian capital, where he will become Vice-Chancellor of the Canberra institution.

The former computer scientist joined Ulster University as vice-chancellor in 2015.

The Liverpool man's move marks a return to familiar grounds, having been formerly based at the University of Tasmania in 2010.

Speaking about the upcoming move, Professor Nixon said he was, “sorry to be leaving the university at a time when a number of key transformational projects are advancing.

He added: “I am confident that the leadership and wider university team will continue their work in this regard to grow Ulster's position as a civic university.

“It has been an honour to lead Ulster University.”

Ulster University have confirmed that a process to appoint a successor is due to commence shortly.

In a statement from the University, Chair of Council Jenny Pyper said: “I would like to thank Paddy for his contribution over the last four years and to wish him well in his new position as Vice Chancellor at the University of Canberra.”

Professor Nixon will be replaced on an interim basis by Professor Paul Bartholomew, currently the deputy Vice-Chancellor at Ulster University.

Reacting to the news of his departure, Redmond McFadden, President of the Londonderry Chamber praised the man's commitment to the region.

He said: “The Chamber is sorry to hear of the departure of Professor Paddy Nixon from Ulster University and we would like to extend our warm wishes to him and thank him for his dedication to Magee and the North West region.

“Professor Nixon played an integral role in the delivery of higher education in our city and has long championed the need for the expansion of the Magee campus and the need for a medical school in the city.

“We look forward to working with his successor and continuing to campaign for an expansion of Magee and to bring a much-needed medical school to the North West.”

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SDLP leader Colum Eastwood was elected to the Commons last week (Niall Carson/PA)

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood paid tribute to Professor Nixon and said that his replacement must have the resource and political direction to expand the University and deliver a Medical School for Derry.

"I have found him to be an engaged and passionate advocate for university education and for Derry over the last five years. We have worked well together and I want to wish him all the best as he moves on to the University of Canberra," the Foyle MP said.

“The next vice-chancellor of Ulster University must finally oversee the expansion of the university at Magee, including a significant uplift in student numbers and the delivery of a Medical School for Derry. This is a political priority for me, for the SDLP and it is an economic priority for this city. It is a key ask for us in the current talks.

“We need to call time on the needless export of talented young people from Derry and the North West. We need to provide them with an opportunity to fulfil their ambitions and build a life for themselves in our community. To do that, we need power sharing institutions at Stormont and Ministerial sign off on this critical project. The time for failure is over. This city deserves delivery.”

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