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Sir Roy Anderson Takes the Helm

Jul 01 2008 12:39
Ashley Brown
After eight years of Richard Sykes, Sir Roy Anderson has today taken up his position as Rector of Imperial College.
Sir Roy Anderson

Professor Sir Roy Anderson has taken up his position as Rector of Imperial College, following the departure of Sir Richard Sykes on Thursday. His appointment was announced to the College in June 2007, shortly after Live! revealed the information following a tip-off.

Sir Roy has been at Imperial a long time, arriving in 1965 to study a BSc in Zoology and completing a PhD in Parasitology in 1971. After brief stints at Oxford and King's College London he returned to Imperial in 1977, becoming head of Biology in 1984. In 1993 he returned to Oxford for seven years, until in 2000 he returned with a research group of 40 to form the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology. During the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak his research led to the mass culling of animals to bring the disease under control.

With our staff, our students and our alumni, I shall seek to ensure that our excellent reputation for learning, discovery and innovation is further extended, and that Imperial continues to fulfil its founding Charter, to undertake work that can be applied to the benefit of society as a whole.
Sir Roy Anderson, on his Imperial web page

Like fellow Imperial Rector Lord Oxburgh, Sir Roy was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of Defence, holding the position from 2004-2007. Sir Roy continues to be a Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology in the Faculty of Medicine's Division of Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care.

In an email circulated to students this morning, Sir Roy said:

"I hope I will have the opportunity to meet as many of you as possible, to hear your views on the student experience at Imperial and the ways in which it can be improved. I would also be very happy to receive any comments at my email address ".

"I feel very privileged indeed to be Rector of Imperial College London and I very much look forward to working with you all over the coming years to achieve even greater things together for our institution."

Electronic communication looks like it may be a strong point of the new Rector, with the College setting up a website with lots of information. However, he has so far avoided all attempts by the student media to speak to him, on the basis that he was too busy. However, he did conduct an interview with the official Imperial College Podcast, which you can listen to below.

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Listen to Sir Roy's interview in the July Imperial College Podcast
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Discussion about “Sir Roy Anderson Takes the Helm”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Jul 01 2008 13:10

The interesting bit of the interview is actually about 20 minutes in (the "second" part of the interview) - there's a bit at the start which is quite waffly and sent me to sleep.

Jul 02 2008 00:04

"During the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak his research led to the mass culling of animals to bring the disease under control."

And Anderson produced a controversial model predicting the outbreak would be over in time for a planned election; previously his modelling had produced politically convenient results in relation to Norwegian Whaling (

Great podcast; I thought the first part of the interview was the most interesting, especially listing to the tone of his discussion of the cull (at 10:21 minutes):

"sadly the only option was a rather unpleasant culling option .. none of us liked ... implication ... obviously slaughtering animals is not a nice thing to recommend but there were no other options".

That sounded a bit prepared and false to me.


" As director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, he had applied for over ?4 million of research grants from Wellcome, while also being a Trustee of the Wellcome Trust itself, which awarded the grants."

I can understand Ashley writing a glowing article, but perhaps the Dark Knight's angle would be more revealing?

Jul 02 2008 11:28

There are a lot of allegations in there, some of which are a matter of public record (e.g. things appearing in The Times), however checking all of them is a little tricky when no references are given.

Thankfully Live!'s readers provide alternative points of view...

Jul 03 2008 15:56

why did you choose that photo from all that are available on his photos link at

Was it the blurriness of the background that attracted you to it? Just checking.

5. Seb   
Jul 03 2008 16:10

Ah, well, the most interesting allegations regarding Roy Anderson, and the Robert May/David King Oxford Biology/zoology clique can be found in old copies of the private eye.

Not sure it would be prudent to relate them all here...

Jul 03 2008 16:32
Jul 03 2008 16:34

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