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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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‌HEFCE Board member
Biography and registered interests‌

Professor Sir Keith Burnett is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield. Previously, he was Head of the Division of Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences at the University of Oxford. He is a member of the Council of the Royal Society and sits on the Prime Minister’s Council of Science and Technology. He is also President of the UK Science Council which includes professional bodies and learned societies across science, as well as practising scientists at all levels within education and industry.

Sir Keith is also a member of the Board of the Higher Educational Funding Council for England and has served as a member of the Infrastructure Council which advises the Treasury on major investments, and is on the Boards of the UK Atomic Energy Authority and the National Council for Universities and Business.

A speaker of Mandarin Chinese, Sir Keith is a leading advocate of partnership between the UK and China and in both 2014 and 2016 was given an Award for Outstanding Personal Achievement by the People’s Republic of China for his contribution to the understanding of Chinese language and culture. He has advised the Chinese government on Higher Education policy and he is a regular commentator in the Chinese media. He is Chair of the Model Confucius Institute in Sheffield focused on industry, health and education.

In the UK and internationally, Professor Burnett is frequently asked to comment on how the UK can develop a meaningful knowledge economy and innovative partnership between universities and business. In Sheffield he has supported the development of an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District with university partnerships with over 100 companies in aerospace, automotive, civil nuclear energy and healthcare technologies. As part of this, the University has been the first of its kind in the UK to develop industry-supported degree apprenticeships in engineering, with 600 young people studying in this way in a world-leading research centre.

Sir Keith is a regular commentator in the UK and international media on issues of education, science and innovation and the economy. He is also co-founder of the #weareinternational campaign which welcomes international students and scholars to the UK, now supported by over 100 UK universities.

Professor Burnett received a CBE for contributions to the scientific community in 2004, and was awarded a knighthood in 2013 for services to science and higher education.

Date appointed to the Board: 1 March 2015

Organisation in which interest existsNature of interest (directorship, shareholding, membership, etc.)
Russell Group Director (Non-Exec)
N8 Research Partnership Director (Non-Exec)
White Rose Executive Chair of Board and Director (Non-Exec)
UK Atomic Energy Authority Director (Non-Exec)
Yorkshire Universities Director (Non-Exec)
Sheffield University Enterprises Ltd Chair of Board
HEaTED Advisory Board Chair of Board
Royal Society Fellow and Member
ALCAB (The A Level Content Advisory Board) Fellow
Institute of Physics Fellow
The Learned Society of Wales Fellow
My Science Charity Trustee
Universities UK Member
Council for Science and Technology (CST) Member
National University of Singapore Visiting Research Associate
UK Science Council President
Advisory Council for Infrastructure UK Member
National Centre for Universities and Business Director (Non-Exec)
Nuffield Foundation Trustee
Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) Board Member
Global Board of Confucius Institutes Board Member
Science and Innovation Board for Sheffield City Region Chair

Page last updated 17 January 2018