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Lifetime achievement award for Newcastle University Professor


A Newcastle University professor has been presented with the Lord Dearing Lifetime Achievement Award at the Times Higher Education Awards.

Professor John Goddard OBE, Emeritus Professor of Regional Studies, was honoured at a ceremony in London last night (Thursday).

The award recognises Professor Goddard’s pioneering work on the role of the civic university and the contribution that universities – like Newcastle – can make to society at large.

During his 37 years working in this field, Professor Goddard has advised the Government on the role higher education institutions can play in regional development and his expertise has helped to establish Newcastle University as a leading proponent of the civic university concept.

His long and distinguished career began in 1965 at the London School of Economics. He then moved to Newcastle in 1975 as Professor of Regional Development Studies where he established the internationally influential Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS). He became Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2002 until his retirement in 2008. He now works as ambassador for the Newcastle Institute for Social Renewal, which was launched earlier this year, and continues to research the impact of civic universities.

Professor Goddard was awarded the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for contributions to the study of industrial location in 1992; elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Learned Societies in Social Sciences in 2003; made an Honorary Fellow of UCL in 2010 and received the Sir Peter Hall Award of the Regional Studies Association in 2011. He was awarded an OBE in 1986 for services to economic regeneration in the North East.  

Newcastle University Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Brink paid tribute to Professor Goddard. He said: “This award is richly deserved. John Goddard has worked tirelessly for Newcastle for the past 37 years. As Deputy Vice-Chancellor he ensured that Newcastle University played a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England.  John’s work on the role universities can play locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, grows ever more relevant as the world faces profound societal challenges in areas such as a growing and ageing population and global sustainability.”

Professor Goddard’s other achievements include chairing the group which led to the development of the Great North Museum: Hancock, now the region’s most popular tourist attraction. He also played a key part in the Newcastle Science City initiative.

Receiving his award, Professor Goddard said: “I am totally overwhelmed by this award, which was completely unexpected. The role that universities can play in supporting civil society has taken on even greater importance today as we come to terms with major social and economic pressures.

“This award is a reflection of this and the key role of leadership development in equipping our university leaders to take forward the role of the civic university in the future.”

Newcastle University Registrar Dr John Hogan, added: “This award is testament to John’s drive, energy and commitment. He ‘retired’ from Newcastle University in 2008 but in reality he continues to travel the globe extolling the importance of the civic university concept and learning about the positive impact universities can have on the places they are based. We are delighted that he still devotes his time and considerable energy to us.”

Professor Goddard’s success was not the only highlight for Newcastle University at the Times Higher Awards. The University also won the Outstanding Contribution to Leadership Development category which was awarded to the University’s Staff Development Unit for its ‘Unpacking Your Chair’ scheme. The scheme was developed for new professors in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.  

They take part in five workshops which are each designed to explore a different aspect of the role. The new  professors seek feedback from colleagues and develop peer support networks.  The programme encourages dialogue with senior leaders to look at how participants can contribute to and shape the University’s future.

This latest accolade builds on Newcastle’s strong track-record in the area of leadership development which has resulted in previous awards in the same category.

 John Gill, editor, Times Higher Education, said: “Anyone looking for evidence of the pioneering spirit, adaptability and sheer quality of our higher education sector need look no further than the winners of this year’s Times Higher Education Awards.”

published on: 30 November 2012