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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 The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.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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The new Board members are:

  • Madeleine Atkins, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University
  • Ruth Farwell, Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University
  • Shirley Pearce, Vice-Chancellor of Loughborough University
  • Anil Ruia, Director of Wrengate Limited.

Madeleine Atkins and Ruth Farwell replace outgoing Board members Ann Tate and Peter Rubin. Shirley Pearce has been appointed to replace Dianne Willcocks whose term expires on 30 November. Anil Ruia has been appointed to replace Ed Smith who is stepping down from 8 June 2010.

David Lammy said:

'I am very pleased to be able to make these appointments. The members bring a wide range of business and public sector experience to HEFCE. I am confident that they will be able to provide strategic advice and guidance to the Funding Council in taking forward our ambitious programme for higher education.'


1.   Members of the Board, including the Chair and Chief Executive, have collective responsibility for the control and management of HEFCE as a corporate body. The Board is responsible for developing policies and ensuring that projects, programmes and activities undertaken by HEFCE are consistent with the overall provisions of the Further and Higher Education Act and any guidance or directions issued by the Secretary of State.

2. Madeleine Atkins

Madeleine Atkins studied law and history as an undergraduate at Cambridge University before qualifying as a secondary teacher. She taught for four years in a large comprehensive school in Huntingdon before returning to higher education (HE) to complete her PhD at Nottingham University.

Following various post-doctoral research positions, she became a lecturer in education management at Newcastle University, developing a keen interest in the use of new technologies to support effective learning. Having held the positions of Head of Department, Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor at Newcastle University, Professor Atkins became Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University in September 2004.

Professor Atkins is a member of HEFCE’s Strategic Advisory Committee for Business & Community. Nationally, she is a Board member of the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship and a member of the Universities UK Employability, Business and Industry Policy Committee. Regionally, she is a member of Advantage West Midlands’ Council for Innovation and Technology and currently chairs the West Midlands Higher Education Association.

3. Ruth Farwell

Professor Farwell is Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University.

Until her appointment at Buckinghamshire in January 2006, Ruth was Pro Vice-Chancellor at London South Bank University with a portfolio which covered academic planning and quality. Previously Ruth held a number of head-of-department level posts at the University of Brighton, the last being Head of Strategic Planning. A mathematician, with a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Kent, she has also published on HE policy. Ruth is Chair of GuildHE, Chair of the Board of the Open College Network for the South East Region, a member of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association Board and also of the National Open College Network.

4. Shirley Pearce

Professor Shirley Pearce CBE BA MPhil PhD is Vice-Chancellor of Loughborough University, a position she has held since January 2006. She is a Board member of UCEA, the Youth Sport Trust, and CASE Europe.

Professor Pearce was educated at Norwich High School for Girls, before studying Psychology, Physiology and Philosophy at St Anne's College, Oxford University, gaining a BA in 1975. She was later awarded an MPhil in Clinical Psychology, and a PhD in Psychology at the University of London.

She joined the National Health Service as a Clinical Psychologist at St Mary's Hospital, London in 1977, and in 1981 moved to University College London, firstly as lecturer, then senior lecturer, in Psychology. She moved to the University of East Anglia (UEA) in 1994 to take up the Chair in Health Psychology and became the inaugural director of the School of Health Policy and Practice. She subsequently became Dean of the Schools of Health in 1997, led the bid for a medical school and established the East Anglia Joint Venture Medical School at Norwich.

Professor Pearce was made Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Health and Professional Schools in 2000, before becoming Dean of the Institute of Health and Director of the Centre for Interprofessional Practice at UEA. She was a Non-executive director of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority and an inaugural Commissioner for the Healthcare Commission. In June 2005 she was made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for services to education in the NHS.

5. Anil Ruia

Anil Ruia, born in Bombay, India is a director at Wrengate Limited, a privately held business involved in the importation, distribution and converting of textiles. In addition, the company has a controlling stake in Warren Tea Limited India, which is engaged in the business of growing, manufacture and sale of black tea. He has a law degree from King’s College, London and is a chartered accountant.

Anil has many external interests involving organisations in community, business, educational and charitable affairs. He is currently a Governor of the University of Manchester and the Manchester Grammar School, a Trustee of National Museums Liverpool, and a Board Member of Arts Council England. In the past Anil was a Board Member of the North West Development Agency, The North West Cultural Consortium, The Manchester Asian Business Forum, M2002 Limited, and The Commonwealth Film Festival together with a non-executive directorship at Granada Television Limited.

In October 2002 he was elected President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was awarded an OBE in January 2001 for services to business.