More than ever, we need our universities to be engines of change and social justice.
Universities can play a major role in making this complex and changing world a better place, helping economies and societies to adapt and respond to the grand challenges we face, from tackling climate change to harnessing artificial intelligence.
This is their mission and their challenge. If universities are to remain true to their higher purpose, they must also find a higher gear.
Ed Byrne and Charles Clarke show how transforming universities can change the world.
Ed Byrne is an Academic Neurologist who has worked in Australia and the UK. His research contributions are in the fields of mitochondrial disease and neuromuscular disorders. He was Professor of Neurology and Director of the Centre for Neuroscience at the University of Melbourne, and then had a number of leadership positions in health and in the university world including Dean of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University, Vice-Provost for Health at UCL and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University. He is now the President and Principal at King's College London. He is currently the Chairman of the Association of Commonwealth Universities. He has long-standing interests in working to improve the contribution that the university sector can make to society at large.
Charles Clarke studied at King's College, Cambridge. He was President of the National Union of Students from 1975 to 1977 and then advised Neil Kinnock, Education spokesman and then Leader of the Labour Opposition. He was MP for Norwich from 1997 to 2010 and served in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and Skills. He introduced and implemented the major university reforms of the 2004 Higher Education Act. He also served as Labour Party Chair and Home Secretary.
He works on international education reform for parts of Cambridge University and has held Visiting Professorships at the Universities of East Anglia, Lancaster and King's College London.