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Paul Layzell OBE

Principal of Royal Holloway honoured with CBE for services to higher education and technology

  • Date01 June 2022

Professor Paul Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, University of London, has been awarded the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Birthday 2022 Honours List for services to higher education and technology.


Professor Layzell has been Principal of Royal Holloway for 12 years and also serves as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of London. During his tenure at Royal Holloway, Professor Layzell has overseen an expansion of the university, including the establishment of new departments in Law, Health Studies, and Electronic Engineering, improvements in facilities for students and a rise in the university's league table position. Today, Royal Holloway is ranked as one of the UK's top 25 universities (Guardian University Guide 2022 and Complete University Guide).

Royal Holloway also recently confirmed its position as a world-class research-intensive university in the Research Excellence Framework 2021.

Professor Layzell, who is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, met with Her Majesty The Queen when she visited the university in 2014 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee Regius Professorship of Music, awarded by The Queen in 2013 to Professor Julian Johnson. In 2017, Royal Holloway’s Community Action student volunteers received The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Commenting on his award, Professor Layzell, Principal of Royal Holloway, said: “It is a great honour to be awarded a CBE and one which I am delighted to receive.

“Our higher education institutions are truly inspirational, as are the students and staff I have engaged with during my time in the sector. It is important to me that universities are recognised for their commitment in helping individuals to succeed and supporting academics to respond, through their research, to the complex challenges of today’s global society.”

During his career in higher education (HE), Professor Layzell has had senior roles at a number of institutions, including the University of Sussex, the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), and the University of Manchester, where he managed the merger of the two institutions. He is also a board member of the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), and treasurer and board member of Universities UK (UUK), where he is leading on the new Freedom of

Speech legislation. He was previously Chair of London Higher, which represents 40 HE institutions across London.

Professor Layzell is also being recognised for services to technology. He was a member of the transition board that successfully moved Jisc, the provider of digital solutions for UK education and research, from a committee of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to an independent educational technology company with charitable status.

Professor Layzell will be retiring from his role as Principal of Royal Holloway later this summer.

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