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Anya Hurlbert


Anya Hurlbert

Dean of Advancement

Anya became Dean of Advancement in 2016 with the task of working closely with the University’s Advancement team to strengthen alumni engagement and networks and enhancing philanthropic funding plans.

“We want to advance the University’s aims by engaging with external supporters, friends and benefactors,” she says. “Alongside my role as Professor of Visual Neuroscience, I aim to deepen relationships with key academic players.

"I am talking to heads of academic units, faculty leaders and individuals in schools and institutes who have ambitious plans and excellent research. I want to help them aspire to greater engagement with philanthropic donors.”

At Newcastle we have people with energy and a can-do attitude.

Anya Hurlbert

As an example, Anya is working with a child psychiatry team researching adult autism, who have launched a funding campaign. She has also worked closely with architect and Newcastle University graduate Sir Terry Farrell to support the establishment of the Farrell Centre for urban design and which will house his archive.

“We need philanthropic funding to help us thrive and produce even greater excellence in all areas from arts to engineering and medicine,” says Anya, who co-founded the Institute of Neuroscience in 2004.

“Newcastle has incredible research strengths, but we need more funding to achieve all that we can. We need to embed the notion of philanthropy into our strategy and planning at the very first stages of research.”

Anya is also keen to expand connections with the University’s 220,000 strong alumni network.

“Nearly half of them are outside the UK and doing fascinating things. They want to network with our students, involve them, support them, help train them, and learn from them,” she explains.

“I regularly talk with alumni groups and we hope to improve the ways they can connect with each other and the University.”

Anya is well qualified to talk about alumni – she has degrees from Princeton, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and MIT – and philanthropy, too, as she runs a small charity with her husband.

She says: “At Newcastle we have people with energy, and a can-do attitude, but we have perhaps hidden our light under a bushel. Now it is time to go out to the world and seek support.”