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Principal's message


Professor Edward Byrne AC is the President & Principal of King's College London.

The Principal joined King's from Monash University, the largest university in Australia, where he was President and Vice-Chancellor.

A neuroscientist and clinician by background, the Principal qualified in medicine at the University of Tasmania in 1974 and subsequently trained as a neurologist in both Adelaide and London.

The Principal has demonstrated outstanding commitment to research excellence throughout his career, including drawing together people from different disciplines to address global challenges and ensuring the quality of student education, the student experience and student employability. 


In this video the Principal talks about his leadership style and outlines his priorities which relate to King's academic mission.


I'm Ed Byrne the new Principal and President of King's College London.
It's a massive privilege for me to join this wonderful university, and I look forward very much to meeting as many as possible of the staff and students of King's in the weeks and months ahead.

I'm attracted to King's because I think King's is full of opportunity. I've been really impressed looking at King's from outside by the strength of many of the disciplines here and by the quality of the staff both academic and non-academic. I think the education in King's, already good, will get a bit better and the very strong research base will continue to grow.

King's, however defined, is a leading university, a world leading university. Now I do believe that there is the opportunity with a little more work not only to consolidate King's current elevated position but to take the university quite a bit further forward. I hope to develop a vision and a strategic plan which is owned and embraced by staff and students broadly.

King's is in just the most fantastic geographical site, truly at the heart of London at the time when London has become the world's great city again, and the plans that King's has already started to evolve to engage with London and build much of its academic enterprise around London I think are very well-based: King's and cultural London; King's and legal London; King's and health London; King's and governance London, and I would also like to see King's and business London emerge as an increasing theme. I think these are real opportunities that very few universities have in today's world.

I have two top priorities, and they both relate to the academic mission. One is to make the educational experience and the quality of the pedagogy at King's second to none in the United Kingdom, and the second is to continue to grow King's as a really great university, in a research sense, where contributions are being made which are important in the widest sense to the world we live in.

Different Vice-Chancellors, because in effect this is a Vice-Chancellery role, bring different leadership styles, but I think the two things that universities need from Vice-Chancellors - one, is a high degree of engagement with the university community, and I interpret that broadly, both students and staff but also alumni and external stakeholders in developing the university vision. The second thing I bring is I try to be a decisive leader and to ensure that when directions have been agreed on they're implemented and delivered by those responsible for them.

What I expect from staff is that they're committed to the university, that they enjoy their job, that they have ideas that they put on the table for making things better, and we have a culture of learning where those ideas are embraced. I hope that our staff at King's will be committed to that type of vision; a flexible learning forward moving institution, embodied and embraced by its staff.

The reason why universities were established, and the reason why we're all here is to educate the young and to educate them brilliantly. We need feedback from our students as to how we should do that and whether we're doing a good job. We also need to involve students in the general direction of the institution. Now I know this has always been the case at King's and my commitment is simply to continue that.

My interests outside of work have been family. I have four children and three grandchildren, and my wife Melissa that I think you'll see Melissa a bit around the university with me. I have had a life as a research scientist which I have found a hugh privilege. In more recent times I have become a poet and my third book of poetry has just been published. I enjoy good company, speaking to people, getting to know them both in a work and a social setting.

King's is a great institution. I think it's at the start of a fantastic journey, where it is going to continue to strengthen as one of the really great universities of the world.

And, in the Commemoration Oration address and his Inaugural Lecture, the Principal talks about how leading universities can make a greater contribution to society and the economy in an increasingly connected world.

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