Vice-Chancellor receives Knighthood

Monday 2 January 2012

The University of Surrey is delighted that Professor Christopher Snowden, its Vice-Chancellor since 2005, has been awarded a Knighthood in the Queen’s New Year Honours for services to Engineering and Higher Education.

Commenting on the New Year’s Honour announcement, Sir Christopher said: “I am deeply honoured and very grateful to receive this accolade. I would like to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to colleagues at the University of Surrey and Guildford and more widely in the higher education and engineering professions, who I have enjoyed working with and have helped create exciting opportunities.

“I am also extremely grateful to my wife and family for their constant support and patience over many years. I look forward to continuing to promote engineering science and to acting as a strong advocate for higher education.”

Under his leadership the University of Surrey has significantly increased its reputation, rising in all league tables in 2011, doubling the annual number of undergraduate applicants over the last 6 years, whilst increasing its entry standards to an average of AAB at A Level, improving research performance and maintaining the distinction of the highest level of graduate employment amongst English universities.

In November 2011, the University was awarded the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education.

Sir Christopher is a distinguished engineer, academic and businessman with wide experience of the international microwave engineering and semiconductor industry. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a Vice-President, chairing the Academy’s Engineering Policy Group. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and was President from 2009-10. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of its Council. He was also made a Fellow of the City and Guilds Institute in 2005.

Sir Christopher was appointed to the Prime Minister’s advisory Council for Science and Technology in 2011 and was also appointed last year to represent the UK on the governing board of the EU Commission’s Joint Research Centre. His keen interest in science, engineering and innovation is reflected in his membership since 2006 of the governing body of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and more recently that of the UK’s Technology Strategy Board. He is a member of the Government Office for Science’s Advisory Board on Foresight.

In addition to his role as Vice-Chancellor at Surrey he is Vice-President for England and Northern Ireland of Universities UK (UUK) where until recently he chaired the Employability, Business and Industry Policy Network.  He is a member of the Council for Industry and Higher Education where he co-chaired the initiative on Digital and Creative Media. He was Chair of Higher Education Research Opportunities (HERO) Ltd from 2006-2008.

He was Chair of the Daphne Jackson Trust for five years until 2010 and continues as a patron of the charity. He is also a Patron of Surrey Youth Focus and Transform Housing and Support.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Surrey, Sir Christopher was Chief Executive Officer of Filtronic ICS.  He joined Filtronic plc in 1998 as Director of Technology before being promoted to Joint Chief Executive Officer in 1999. He has experience as a Non-Executive Director of several technology companies.  

Sir Christopher was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal in 2004 for his “outstanding contributions to the UK microwave semiconductor industry”.  He was appointed a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 1996 and was a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Electron Devices Society.  Sir Christopher was awarded the 1999 Microwave Prize of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society for his world-leading research on microwave power transistors for communication systems – only the second UK citizen in 58 years to receive this accolade.  In 2009 he was awarded the IEEE Distinguished Educator Award of the Microwave Theory and Techniques Society.

After graduating from the University of Leeds in 1977 Sir Christopher worked for Mullard Ltd in Surrey. His PhD studies were later conducted at Leeds in association with Racal MESL Ltd. He worked as the Senior Staff Scientist in Corporate Research and Development at M/A-COM Inc. in the USA, from 1989 to 1991.  Sir Christopher held the personal Chair of Microwave Engineering at the University of Leeds from 1992-2005 and was Head of the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering from 1995-98.  He was the founder and first Director of the Institute of Microwaves and Photonics located in the School.  

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey

Find out more

For further information about Professor Snowden, please visit the Vice-Chancellor's Office website.

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