Dame Katherine Grainger speaks to Times Higher Education on her unique academic and athletic career

Friday, 06 January 2017

Dame Dr Katherine Grainger

Oxford Brookes’ Chancellor Dame Dr Katherine Grainger has given an insight into her unique career as an academic and athlete in this week’s Times Higher Education.

As well as talking about the influence of her Scottish roots, experiences as an undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD student and the impact she hopes to have on Oxford Brookes during her tenure as Chancellor, Katherine also spoke about some of the biggest changes in higher education over the last 10 years, and touched on issues currently facing the sector.

When asked what policy she would immediately introduce if she were the higher education minister for a day, Katherine said: “Like most of the sector, we are very conscious of the fact that universities are global institutions with a genuine international outlook. In a year of such political change there are naturally concerns about international students and their ability to study here, but also for the recruitment of the best staff from around the world and continued global research partnerships. 

“If policy could reflect the clearly evidenced benefit to the UK…of universities being able to operate as truly international institutions, that would certainly be very warmly welcomed.”

Like most of the sector, we are very conscious of the fact that universities are global institutions with a genuine international outlook. In a year of such political change there are naturally concerns about international students and their ability to study here, but also for the recruitment of the best staff from around the world and continued global research partnerships.

Dame Dr Katherine Grainger, Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University

The interview comes a week after it was announced in the New Year’s Honour list that Katherine will be made a Dame for services to rowing and charity. The full interview can be read on the Times Higher Education website.

Katherine is Britain’s most decorated female Olympian of all time, winning medals for rowing in five consecutive Olympics including gold at London 2012 and most recently silver at Rio 2016. She is a board member for International Inspiration, a charity that uses sport to involve, inspire and impact the lives of children, young people and marginalised groups around the world.  

Katherine was officially welcomed as the University’s Chancellor in March 2015 and was joined by her predecessors Shami Chakrabarti CBE, Jon Snow and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC for a special celebration as part of the University’s 150th anniversary.

In 2014 she was awarded an honorary degree at Oxford Brookes and has been a dedicated supporter of the Oxford Brookes Social Entrepreneurship Awards – the award-winning programme that funds and supports student and staff social entrepreneurs who are looking to initiate social change using a business model.

Last month, Katherine visited the Oxford Brookes University Boat Club facilities and met with the athletes after their record-breaking performance at Wallingford Head of the River.

Katherine will be giving her first Chancellor’s lecture - Is confidence born, bred or bluffed?  at Oxford Brookes University on 5 April 2017.