Reporter 460, 4 December 2000

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21 November 2000

Worldwide Universities Network appoints first Chief Executive

The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) has named David Pilsbury as its first Chief Executive. He will lead the business development of WUN, including the introduction of new programmes, corporate communications and marketing.

Dr Pilsbury was previously Head of Research at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), where he was responsible for the Funding Council's highly regarded and influential fundamental review of research policy. He was also a key figure in the successful establishment of the Arts and Humanities Research Board.

Professor Sir Gareth Roberts, Chair of the Worldwide Universities Network, said: "David is an excellent individual to communicate our vision and to develop our partnership relationships, both inside and outside education. He is an accomplished leader and will provide expert strategic guidance for the rapid development of the Worldwide Universities Network."

Sir Brian Fender, HEFCE Chief Executive, said: "The WUN is a good example of the growing collaboration between universities. David's appointment is an important step. He has an excellent understanding of higher education and research issues, including the rapidly developing international context".

Dr Pilsbury previously worked as an investment banker and as a strategic consultant, after pursuing a research career at the University of Oxford.

The Worldwide Universities Network is a partnership between ten global research institutions - the universities of Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and York in the UK; and Pennsylvania State University, University of California at San Diego, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Washington at Seattle and University of Wisconsin at Madison in the USA.

WUN builds on the international reputation of the partners for research quality and innovation to develop significant collaborations around key research strengths. It is also developing arrangements for the joint supervision of PhD students by partner organisations and constructing innovative, advanced postgraduate programmes. The partners will use the latest communication technologies and their understanding of student needs to take advantage of emerging opportunities for high-quality, focussed and flexible on-line provision to individuals, backed by mentoring and links to the most up-to-date research.

Worldwide Universities Network will launch its web site in early 2001 and will begin to roll out a programme of courses during the year.

Further information from: Dr David Pilsbury, Chief Executive, Worldwide Universities Network, tel: 0117 931 7123; mobile 07775 914865, email:; or Roger Allum, Public Relations Office, University of Sheffield, tel: 0114 222 1033, email:

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