Associate vice-presidents

In addition to the senior officers at The University of Manchester, there are also a number of associate vice-presidents responsible for leading on priorities for the institution, some of whom are listed below.

Alan Ferns, Associate Vice-President for External Relations and Reputation 

Alan Ferns

Alan Ferns is Associate Vice-President for External Relations and Reputation and is responsible for providing co-ordination, leadership and strategic direction for a wide range of external relations and reputation building activities. He works closely with the President and Vice-Chancellor and other senior colleagues to build and maintain good relationships with external agencies and key stakeholders and to monitor, protect and enhance the University’s global reputation

Prior to taking up his current role in January 2017, Alan was Director of Communications and Marketing at the University where he managed the award-winning central communications and marketing team. He also provided the strategy and leadership for a wider community of communications and marketing professionals across the University responsible for delivering communications and engagement activity for the University’s 40,000 students, 11,000 staff and 380,000 alumni.

Alan and his team delivered all of the communications surrounding the successful Manchester ‘merger’ of 2004 and built the brand that has transformed the global reputation of The University of Manchester since then.

He has worked in the field of university communications since 1983 at the universities of Lancaster, Salford and Manchester.

Professor Stephen Flint, Associate Vice-President for Internationalisation

Stephen Flint

Professor Stephen Flint leads a geoscience research group that reconstructs the palaeogeography of ancient sedimentary basins worldwide. This helps to understand the effects of climate change and tectonic activity in deep time. Applications include exploration for new gas reserves in the transition from oil to renewable energy sources and forecasting of future environmental change.

He joined the University in 2012 as Professor of Stratigraphy and Associate Dean for Internationalisation in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. In 2015 he served as Interim Vice-President and Dean of Faculty and took up the newly established position of Associate-Vice-President for Internationalisation in November 2015. He leads on development of global strategic partnerships and is Chair of the Universities UK PVCs-International network.

Previously Stephen worked for Shell Research in the Netherlands, then moved to an academic position at the University of Liverpool, where he held a Personal Chair in Sedimentology and was Dean of Graduate Studies. He has published over 150 papers, geology textbooks and many industry reports.

John Holden, Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects

John Holden

John Holden joined the University as Associate Vice-President for Major Special Projects in January 2020. He is responsible for supporting major external bids relating to regional and national government and to private, commercial and charitable organisations. He also works with the government on locating key national and international activities in the Manchester city region.

He works closely with leaders across the University, and collaborates on cross-institution initiatives and with a wide range of external stakeholders.

John has extensive regional and national policy experience, with expertise in devolved regional. His previous roles includes senior strategy and research at the New Economy think tank promoting regional growth and prosperity and most recently as the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Assistant Director, Strategy/Research.

John is a University alumnus, having studied his BA (Hons) Economic and Social Studies and MA International Political Economy at Manchester from 1999 to 2003.

Professor Nigel Hooper, Associate Vice-President for Research

Nigel Hooper

Professor Nigel Hooper leads a research group that is focused on understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms that contribute to neurodegeneration. His work has implications for the prevention, diagnosis and intervention in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Nigel joined The University of Manchester in 2014 as Professor of Cell Biology. In 2015 he was appointed as Director of Dementia Research and then in 2016 as Vice-Dean for Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health.

In 2020 he was appointed as Associate Vice-President for Research with a particular emphasis on promoting and facilitating cross-disciplinary research in the University, with lead oversight for the establishment of new institutes, as well as governance of the University’s existing portfolio of beacons, institutes and research platforms.

Previously, Nigel was Dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds. He has published over 200 scientific papers and was recognised in 2016 by election as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.