Professor White has a strong affinity with the city and University, having lived in Bath in the 1990s when he worked at the University as Professor of Physics. He now returns to Bath from the University of Cambridge where he was serving as the van Eck Professor of Engineering, a Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and the Master of Jesus College.

He takes over from Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bernie Morley, and is the University’s seventh Vice-Chancellor since it was established in 1966.

Commenting ahead of his arrival, Professor White said:

It is an honour to join the University as Vice-Chancellor. It is humbling to witness the achievements of the University community, both past and present, arising from the talents and hard work of so many students and staff. I look forward to working closely with all members of the University, its staff and the Students Union, on the next chapter of its story. Together, we will continue striving to deliver teaching and research of the highest quality and in the interests of the common good. I particularly look forward to engaging with the student community, to ensure that their experience is of the highest quality, allowing students to benefit from University to the greatest possible extent, and enabling them to move on to serve the wider community from a position of strength.

Having previously lived in Bath with my family, it is a real pleasure to return to this remarkable and beautiful city. Like the University community, Bath is a place brimming with talent, creativity and opportunity. I look forward to forging ever closer links with the local community, including residents, businesses, local government and civic society organisations in the months to come.

The new Chair of University of Bath Council, Pamela Chesters CBE, who also takes up her position today, said: “I look forward to working alongside Professor Ian White in our respective new roles, and getting to know the wider University community. I am confident that Bath’s reputation as a centre of excellence for research, teaching and the wider student experience will continue to grow.”

Eve Alcock, President of the University of Bath’s Students’ Union said: “I am very much looking forward to working in partnership with Ian White over the next year, and feel sure that his leadership will move us in a really positive direction that will benefit students at the University.”

Over his academic career, Professor White has built up a substantial research record in the field of optoelectronics and optical communications. He has published in excess of 1,000 journal and conference papers, and his research advances have had significant commercial impact.

Professor White gained his BA and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge in 1980 and 1984. He was then appointed a Research Fellow and Assistant Lecturer at the University of Cambridge before becoming Professor of Physics at the University of Bath in 1990. In 1996 he moved to the University of Bristol and became Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in 1998, before returning to the University of Cambridge in October 2001.

As a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Professor White has been heavily involved in policy development and administration of research and sits on a number of International Conference Committees.