The University of Bath is delighted that Professor Breakwell, its Vice-Chancellor since 2001, has been made a Dame in the Queen’s New Year Honours for services to higher education.

Under her leadership the University of Bath has significantly increased its profile as a world-class research-intensive university. It is now the fifth highest ranking university in the UK according to the Sunday Times League Table which named it the University of the Year 2011-12. In November, it also won the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education.

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell DBE has an international reputation as a social psychologist. She has written more than 20 books including The Psychology of Risk. She is active as a policy adviser and scholar specialising on leadership, identity processes, risk communication and military cultures. Her research has resulted in Professor Breakwell acting as an advisor to many government departments, multi-national corporations and not-for-profit organisations.

She has championed nationally the role of universities in scientific and technological innovation, exploitation and economic regeneration. She has worked over many years to widen participation in science and achieve knowledge transfer from higher education to business. She has led the establishment of a flagship sports facility on the campus where many international athletes now train, not least in the build-up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Professor Breakwell is a Deputy Lieutenant of Somerset. She has had a transformational effect on ‘town and gown’ relationships and has a strong commitment to the wider community. As Chair of the Bath Festivals Trust she helped the artistic and financial regeneration of the Bath International Music Festival and the Bath Literature Festival.

As Chair of Universities UK’s Funding Policy Committee, Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Research Committee, a trustee of the Universities Superannuation Scheme, a member of the board of the Student Loans Company, besides many other appointments, Professor Breakwell is actively engaged in national policy-making.

Lord Tugendhat, Chancellor of the University of Bath, said: “Professor Breakwell richly deserves this honour. She is an outstanding Vice-Chancellor and a significant contributor to our national life. Her extraordinary energy and determination have enabled the University of Bath to achieve great success over the last ten years. She has combined this with strong participation in national and regional policy-making, investing in local relationships and scholarly output.”

Peter Troughton, Chair of the University’s Council, added “Professor Breakwell has made a very substantial contribution to higher education over many years and I am delighted that it should be recognised in this way. Her confident leadership has had a profound effect on the performance of the University academically and financially.”

Commenting on the honour, Dame Glynis said: “It is wonderful to be honoured for simply doing the things I love, working with people that I admire, as part of a great University in a city of beauty and spirit. I want to share this recognition with everyone who has made it possible and to thank them.”


Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell took her PhD from the University of Bristol and an MA and DSc from the University of Oxford. In 2003, in recognition of her contribution to the social sciences, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Bristol and in 2004 became an Honorary Professor at the University of Shangdong in China.

She has been a Fellow of the British Psychological Society since 1984 and is a chartered health psychologist. In 2002 she was elected an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences. In 2006 she became one of the very select and elite group of Honorary Fellows of the British Psychological Society.

After holding a Prize Fellowship at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, Dame Glynis moved to the University of Surrey where she became Head of the Department of Psychology in 1990 and subsequently Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise).

Professor Breakwell was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bath in 2001. As Vice-Chancellor, she is both the academic leader and chief executive of the University.

She is currently a director of Universities UK and Chair of its Funding Policy Network, a trustee of the Universities Superannuation Scheme, a director of the Student Loans Company, a member of the HEFCE Leadership Governance & Management Committee, Chair of the Daphne Jackson Trust, a member of Council of Cheltenham Ladies College, and a Director of the West of England Local Economic Partnership. From 2006-2008 she was Chair of Higher Education in the South West. She has been a director of the Theatre Royal, Bath, a director of the New Swindon Company and a trustee of the Holburne Museum. From 2006-2009 she was Chair of the Bath Festivals Trust.

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell has published more than twenty books and hundreds of journal articles. Her latest book The Psychology of Risk was published by Cambridge University Press.