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Malcolm Grant

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Malcolm Grant

Sir Malcolm Grant
President and Provost of University College London
In office
1 August 2003 – 1 September 2013
Preceded by Sir Christopher Llewellyn Smith
Succeeded by Michael Arthur
Personal details
Born (1947-11-29) 29 November 1947
Oamaru, New Zealand
Alma mater University of Otago

Sir Malcolm John Grant, CBE FAcSS (born 29 November 1947[1]) is Chairman of NHS England, formerly known as the NHS Commissioning Board. He is also a trained barrister and academic.[2]

Grant was the 9th Provost and President of University College London (UCL) for over a decade until September 2013. He was succeeded by Michael Arthur as the 10th Provost. He had held the post – the principal academic and administrative officer and head of UCL – since August 2003.[3]

On the 28th November 2014 it was anounced that Grant will be succeeding Greg Dyke as Chancellor of The University of York as of August 2015. [4]

Early life, education and previous work

Grant was born and raised in Oamaru, New Zealand. He attended Waitaki Boys' High School (a state school) and went on to study at the University of Otago, where he respectively gained an LL.B. (1970), LL.M. (1973) and LL.D. degree (1986). He became a Lecturer in Law at Southampton University (1972–1986). He was then a Professor of Law and Vice-Dean, from 1986 until 1991, of the University College London Law Faculty.

Grant was appointed Professor of Land Economy and a Fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge. He then served as Head of the Department of Land Economy at Cambridge from 1993 until 2001 and was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the university from 2002 until 2003. Whilst there he led attempts to reform the university.[5] He was succeeded as Pro-Vice-Chancellor by Tony Minson.[6] Grant was elected an Academician of the Academy of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences in 2000[3] and in 2004 he was elected a Master of the Bench of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.

As Provost of UCL

In August 2003, Grant left the University of Cambridge to become Provost and President of University College London.[7]

In 2004, Grant launched 'The Campaign for UCL'. The campaign was designed to generate 300 million pounds of extra funding for the university, to expand facilities and provide for new research initiatives.[8] The appeal will also fund an ear institute, a spinal repair unit and an institute for women's health. Fifty million pounds of the targeted funds will provide support for students, in the form of bursaries, scholarships, and post-doctoral fellowships. It was the biggest ever fundraising target set by a university in the United Kingdom,[9] until Cambridge set a £1 billion target for its 800 year anniversary followed by the highest ever £3 billion target set by University of Oxford through the Oxford thinking campaign.[10] Grant said of the 'Campaign':

In 2005, on an invitation from The Cheese Grater, he agreed to shave off his moustache if UCL students raised £1500 for Comic Relief, on Red Nose Day. Unfortunately for his moustache — of 33 years — students and staff duly donated over £2,000.[11] However, it has since regrown.

In 2006, he spoke out against the Israel university boycotts by the Association of University Lecturers (now the Universities Colleges Union).[12] In 2006, Grant also controversially stated that European students had better English skills than many British students.[13][14]

In 2007, Grant said the achievement and academic gap between male and female students was widening.[15] Since 1998, 313,259 more women than men have made university applications. Malcolm Grant said, "the trend indicated a big fall in the number of university-educated men".[16]

In January 2007, he argued that the entire nation-wide university approach to funding needed a different approach.[17] In regard to UCL's need for additional funding, he stated the reasons in an interview with the BBC:

In June 2007, in response to legal threats from Alan Lakin, husband of a purveyor of herbal remedies, Grant required Professor David Colquhoun to remove his website, "Improbable Science"[19] from university computers. An outcry from the scientific community ensued, and Grant reconsidered, inviting Dr. Colquhoun to bring the site back to UCL once it had been edited for libel.[20]

In December 2011, Grant became the first UCL Provost to be challenged by 'a vote of No Confidence' by UCL Union, the representative body of UCL students, following his appointment as chair of the NHS Commissioning Board.[21] However this was deemed unconstitutional. As a result, the matter was passed to a referendum in which the students of UCL voted in confidence of Grant by 1699 votes to 1185, with 391 abstentions.[22]

Awards and other positions

Grant is an Honorary Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (1993–) and an Honorary Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (1995–). He is also a Barrister of Middle Temple (1998–); and Honorary Life Member of the New Zealand Resource Management Law Association (1999). He was elected a Bencher of Middle Temple in 2004.[23]

In 2003, Grant was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to planning law and local government.[3][24] He was Chair of the Agriculture & Environment Biotechnology Commission (2000–2005). Grant was also Chair of the UK Independent Steering Board for the Public Debate on Genetically modified foods from 2002–2003).[25] He urged that the public have a voice in discussing GM foods.[26][27]

From 2006-2009, he was chair of the [29] Grant served as a Member of Council of the Royal Institution from 2007-2009. He was appointed a British Business Ambassador by the Prime Minister in 2008, and he serves on the boards of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Hong Kong University Grants Committee.

In October 2011, he was appointed as the first chair of the NHS Commissioning Board by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley,.[30]

Grant was knighted in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to higher education.[31][32]


In the Telegraph, Grant was criticised for allegedly downplaying Islamist radicalisation and extremism on the UCL campus.[33] Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab – who attempted to explode a bomb on a flight to Detroit – was the president of the UCL Islamic Society from 2005-08. He was the fourth president of an official Islamic society at a London university to face terrorist charges in three years.[34] In response to the criticisms, Grant stated that he had ordered a review into the issue. He also denied that there was a problem with Islamic extremism at UCL, and accused some Telegraph writers of "Islamophobia".[35] Consequently, the CSC issued a press briefing listing a number of Islamist extremists who had recently spoken on the UCL campus after being officially invited by UCL's Islamic groups.[36] Ruth Dudley Edwards criticised Grant's response, writing: "Rather than producing mealy-mouthed defensive statements... Provost Grant should seriously reconsider his position."[37] On the other hand, Professor John Sutherland, writing in the Guardian, defended the university's response of constructive engagement, which recommended "debate with extremists" and the promotion of an Islamic Awareness Week: "My own, partisan, view is that UCL's openness is morally justified.... But there are clear risks".[38]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "National Directors".  
  3. ^ a b c Biography
  4. ^ "New Chancellor".  
  5. ^ "Management shake-up at Cambridge". BBC News. 7 February 2002. 
  6. ^ University of Cambridge: News and Events: New Pro-Vice-Chancellor appointed (16 June 2003) (accessed 9 January 2013)
  7. ^ Grant to lead UCL
  8. ^ The Campaign For UCL
  9. ^ a b "University launches £300m appeal". BBC News. 5 October 2004. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ UCL News
  12. ^ Smith, Alexandra (30 May 2006). "Israel (News),Higher education,Education,UK news,International education news,World news,Middle East (News),Lecturers". The Guardian (London). 
  13. ^ "European students have better English, says university head". The Daily Telegraph (London). 18 June 2006. 
  14. ^ Blair, Alexandra (21 November 2006). "Universities to get extra money for giving places to the poor". The Times (London). 
  15. ^ "Student gender gap is even wider". BBC News. 15 February 2007. 
  16. ^ Blair, Alexandra (15 February 2007). "Growing gender gap risks turning universities into malefree zones". The Times (London). 
  17. ^ Grant, Malcolm (30 January 2007). "Higher education,Tuition fees,Students,Education,UK news". The Guardian (London). 
  18. ^ "Looking inside the university". BBC News. 5 October 2004. 
  19. ^ DC's Improbable Science page
  20. ^ Joint statement by Professor Colquhoun and UCL
  21. ^ "No confidence vote". Times Higher Education. 3 December 2011. 
  22. ^ UCLU (26 January 2012). "Results of the UCLU Referenda, January 2012". 
  23. ^ a b Public Service
  24. ^ "Higher education,Education,UK news,University administration,Careers in higher education,UCL,Cambridge University". The Guardian (London). 2 April 2003. 
  25. ^ "'"GM debate 'to include crop trials. BBC News. 5 February 2003. 
  26. ^ "Public 'needs voice' on GM issue". BBC News. 3 June 2003. 
  27. ^ "News - Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  28. ^ "Malcolm Grant: Is the axe-man a saviour?". The Independent (London). 19 January 2006. 
  29. ^ "London poll plan unveiled". BBC News. 25 August 1998. 
  30. ^ Taylor, Lynne. "Lansley names academic to head NHSCB". Pharma Times. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  31. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60534. p. 1. 15 June 2013.
  32. ^ "Birthday Honours List 2013" (PDF). HM Government. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  33. ^ When will the British people wake up to the enemy in their midst By Con Coughlin Defence Last updated: December 30th, 2009, Telegraph
  34. ^ "Airline Bomb Suspect Reportedly Groomed While a Student in London". The Times. December 30, 2009. Retrieved January 4, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Freedom of thought is all we foment". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  36. ^ How UCL authorities ignored Islamic extremismCSC
  37. ^ British universities: seats of learning – and loathing By Ruth Dudley Edwards 10:30AM GMT 02 Jan 2010
  38. ^ UCL, on the frontline of the student extremism debate, Friday 18 February 2011 17.00 GMT

External links

  • UCL Website Official Biography
Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir Derek Roberts
Provost of University College London
2003 – Present
Succeeded by
Michael Arthur
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