Message from the Principal

Tuesday 15 December

As the holiday season approaches and 2016 moves into touching distance, I would like to say thank you to everyone for your support and hard work over the past 12 months. It’s been quite a year!
Kicking off the year were the results from REF 2014, confirming that Royal Holloway is in the top 25 per cent of UK universities for ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ research.  This was shortly followed in January with confirmation that we had received more than 16,000 undergraduate applications – a record number for our College.
During the remainder of the academic year, we celebrated the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, with students, colleagues and alumni focusing on the ways in which our College continues to protect liberty and freedoms in the 21st century. Geography and Biological Sciences were awarded Bronze Athena SWAN awards, and the Department of Physics went on to successfully renew their Athena SWAN Silver award, in recognition of our ongoing commitment to and strong success in the advancement of gender equality.  Many of our academics were recognised by their peers for their contribution to their subject, such as Professor Helen Gilbert who was awarded the Humboldt Prize in recognition of her lifetime achievements in interdisciplinary theatre and performance research.
Over the summer, our students made history with the largest ever relay team to complete the cross channel swim and in September we welcomed students to new courses including Law and Liberal Arts.
So far in this new academic year, we have celebrated a prestigious THE Award for an outstanding contribution to the local community, opened our newly refurbished premises in Bedford Square and made breakthroughs across many research areas, including with the advancement of HIV treatment. Sadly, we have lost colleagues and friends this year too, who we will always remember.
You can see just how much we and our students have achieved, and this week it continues, with most of us involved in some way in Winter Graduation Ceremonies. Thank you for all of your contributions.
As this is my last message of the year, I’d also like to wish you an enjoyable Christmas and New Year break. I look forward to seeing you in 2016.

 Professor Paul Layzell

Read previous messages here.