About us

Founded in 1987, Yorkshire Universities is a charity and company limited by guarantee. The vice-chancellors and principals of Yorkshire’s higher education institutions are the members of the company and form its board of directors.


Yorkshire Universities works to maximise the contribution of higher education to the region, and beyond, through collaboration and partnerships, where this generates greater impact and public benefit.


Chair of the YU Board

Professor Sir Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University

Professor Sir Chris Husbands has been Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University since January 2016.
A Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, he has undertaken senior roles in universities for over eighteen years, as Head of the Institute of Education at Warwick University (2000-3), as Dean of Education and Lifelong Learning at the University of East Anglia (2003-7), as Dean of Faculty and then Director of the Institute of Education (2007-15) and as Vice-Provost at University College London (2014-15).

His academic interests are in education policy and practice; his research has explored the reasons for difference in performance between education systems and his work has been published in fifteen books and over four hundred papers and presentations. He has worked with local and national governments in the UK and internationally, across four continents.

Sir Chris graduated with a double starred First in History from the University of Cambridge, where he went on to complete a doctorate in Geography. He was a teacher and senior manager in urban secondary comprehensive schools before becoming a university lecturer.

Sir Chris was appointed in 2016 by the Government as the inaugural Chair of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) which assesses teaching excellence across UK higher education. He is Chair of the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Board, Chair of the Doncaster Opportunity Area Board and a co-opted Private Sector member of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (SCR LEP) Board and recently became Chair of Yorkshire Universities. Sir Chris was knighted for services to Higher Education in 2018.


YU Executive Team

Dr. Peter O’Brien, Executive Director ⇢  p.obrien@yorkshireuniversities.ac.uk

Peter was appointed Executive Director of Yorkshire Universities in April 2018. Previously, he was Deputy Local Growth Consultant at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). He is also a senior research fellow at the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University, where he specialises in, and has published widely on, issues relating to urban and regional development and governance, and infrastructure funding and financing. Peter has worked at a senior level in local and regional government in the north of England during the past decade.


Monika Antal, Executive Manager ⇢  m.antal@yorkshireuniversities.ac.uk

Monika first joined YU in February 2014, as Project Coordinator of the ERDF funded Technical Assistance (YUTA). After YUTA finished she worked for the EU Policy Lab at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Brussels for three years before making her way back to Yorkshire. She returned to YU as Executive Manager in January 2018.



Emma Dick, Executive Assistant ⇢ e.l.dick@yorkshireuniversities.ac.uk

Emma joined YU in March 2017, as Executive Assistant and Office Manager. Emma supports YU as an Associate of Virtual Hand, a virtual assistant services and business support organisation. Prior to working at YU, Emma worked on an ERDF Business Growth Programme at the University of Bradford.



Professor Roger Lewis, Associate ⇢  r.lewis@yorkshireuniversities.ac.uk

Roger Lewis has worked for Yorkshire Universities since 2010 in various capacities, including Chief Executive (2010-2013) and Interim Executive Director (2017-2018). Before that he was HEFCE Regional Consultant for Yorkshire (and other northern regions) 1998-2009. His main academic interests are in student learning and how this can best be fostered by both individual academics and by the institutional environment. Within this his specialism (as both researcher and practitioner) has been open, distance and e-learning; this is his main area of publication. He was BP Professor of Learning Development at what is now the University of Lincoln (1992-1998). He is on the editorial boards of ‘Open Learning’ and ‘Active Learning’.

James Ransom, Associate ⇢ j.ransom@yorkshireuniversities.ac.uk

James joined Yorkshire Universities in March 2019 as an Associate. He is a higher education researcher with a focus on the local and regional role of universities, and has recently led projects for the British Council, the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE), and KPMG. He is a PhD candidate at UCL Institute of Education, and previously worked for Universities UK, UNESCO and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.