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About Queen's

Queen's University Belfast

Queen’s University Belfast is one of the leading universities in the UK and Ireland, with a distinguished heritage and history. We are a community of more than 23,000 students and 3,700 staff, playing an important and special role in the life of Northern Ireland.

As a member of the Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities, Queen’s combines excellence in research and education with a student-centred ethos. We translate ideas, academic teaching, research and professional expertise into action, resulting in impact that serves society at home and across the world in life-changing ways. Our Social Charter reaffirms this commitment to engaging with society and celebrates the many ways our students and staff contribute to our place.

Driven by the Vision 2020 strategic plan Queen’s is developing as a world-class international university that supports outstanding students and staff, working in wold-class facilities, conduction leading edge education and research, focused on the needs of society.

That strategy created three new Faculties led by three new Pro Vice Chancellors – including the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences led by Adrienne Scullion.

To meet the ambitious targets in the Vision 2020 strategy she has led a restructuring of the Faculty that: has introduced three new interdisciplinary Schools; more flexible degree pathways for undergraduate students; has affirmed the Faculty’s ambition to raise entry tariffs; and delivered a £3.1m investment programme for new staff. As part of the Vision 2020 agenda, we are meeting challenging targets in particular in respect of postgraduate education, internationalisation and research.

Recent Achievements

University Achievements

  • Top 1 per cent of universities in the world
  • A UK top ten research-intensive university (REF 2014)
  • 26 of the 28 subject areas submitted to REF 2014 were ranked in the UK top 20 for research intensity
  • 20th most international university in the world 2015 (Times Higher Education)
  • Most family-friendly employer (Employers for Childcare Awards 2016)
  • One of only seven universities in the UK to hold an Athena SWAN Silver Institutional Award
  • Six Queen’s Anniversary Prize Awards, the most recent for the Centre for Secure Information Technologies in February 2016
  • 94 per cent of our graduates are in employment or further study six months after graduation
  • 17 Queen’s subjects in the UK top 20 (Complete University Guide 2015)

Faculty Achievements

  • Athena SWAN Bronze Awards in History and Anthropology, in Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, in Management, in Modern Languages and in Sociology
  • Number 1 AHRC-funded university in 2016-17, receiving £4.11M across 12 awards with an overall success rate of 40%
  • AHRC and ESRC Doctoral Training Partnerships
  • Nuffield-funded Q-Step initiative
  • Performing arts in QS top 50 and English in QS top 100
  • Modern Languages third and Education fourth in UK for research intensity in REF 2014.

Management Structure

Professor Ian Greer will become the Institution’s 13th President and Vice-Chancellor when he takes up post in August 2018.  Until then, Professor James McElnay is Acting Vice-Chancellor.  He is supported by the Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, James O’Kane, and by six Pro-Vice-Chancellors, each with defined policy or territorial portfolio: 

  • Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Adrienne Scullion
  • Education and Students – David Jones
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences – Mark Price
  • Internationalisation and Engagement – Richard English
  • Medicine, Health and Life Sciences – Chris Elliot 
  • Research and Postgraduates – Recruitment process in progress

The Acting President and Vice-Chancellor chairs the University Executive Board (UEB), which is responsible for developing the Corporate Plan, as well as approved strategies to support its delivery. Membership of the UEB, which reports directly to the Planning and Finance Committee, is made up of the Registrar and Chief Operating Officer, the six Pro-Vice-Chancellors and the Directors of Finance and of Marketing, Recruitment, Communications and Internationalisation.

The Registrar and Chief Operating Officer is the head of a unified administration, responsible for managing, leading and coordinating the provision of a comprehensive range of professional support services. These integrated professional services are delivered through nine Directorates. The Registrar and Chief Operating Officer chairs the University Operating Board (UOB), which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of all University strategies and policies. Membership of the UOB comprises of the Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellors and the nine Professional Services Directors.

The senior management team within the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, led by the Faculty Pro-Vice Chancellor, is comprised of the Deans of Research, Education, Graduate Studies, and Internationalisation, the Heads of School, the Director of the Global Research Institute (GRI) and the Faculty Director of Operations. They form the membership of the Faculty Executive Board, which is chaired by the Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor and is empowered to develop and execute the Faculty’s strategy and vision, to create an integrated approach to planning and resource allocation across the five Schools and the GRI, to encourage collaboration and maximize the creativity across the Faculty, to enhance accountability and performance management and to set, and deliver against, Corporate Plan targets. 

Further information about the Management Structure can be found here.


The Vision for Queen’s is to be a world class international university that supports outstanding students and staff, working in world class facilities, conducting leading-edge education and research, focused on the needs of society.

In October 2014, Vision 2020 was approved by Senate and marked the beginning of a new phase in Queen’s journey. Underpinning Vision 2020 is the development of an ambitious culture that seeks to embrace collective leadership, innovation, transparency and an adaptive approach to change.

Vision 2020 is shaped by a number of principles:

  • developing a culture of integrated, empowered and enabled leadership;
  • becoming more financially independent and growing in key priority areas, including research income and postgraduate and international student numbers 
  • developing and implementing Academic Standards that align with Vision 2020;
  • creating empowered and accountable Faculties;
  • facilitating and enabling interdisciplinarity and a collaborative approach to delivery;
  • creating a Graduate School and growing a strong and vibrant postdoctoral community; and,
  • enhancing our positive impact on society.

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