New role for senior university figure

A MAJOR architect of Suffolk's first university is leaving to take up a new role.

A MAJOR architect of Suffolk's first university is leaving to take up a new role.

Distinguished academic Dr Peter Funnell is stepping down as executive dean of the newly-established University Campus Suffolk (UCS) after steering it through its academic launch in 2007, it was announced yesterday

He will become chief executive of IDEA Ltd, a new project launched by Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Adastral Park which aims to encourage innovation and provide a new type of learning and skills development to tackle ICT skills shortages at Martlesham and the UK as a whole.

Dr Funnell, 55, who will also take on other projects, was praised for his “major contribution” to further and higher education in Suffolk.

Chief executive officer and pro-vice chancellor of UCS Professor Bob Anderson praised the key role Dr Funnell, who was previously assistant principal at Suffolk College, played in developing the case for a university in Suffolk and in making it a reality.

“Peter has managed wide-ranging institutional change, led academic and service delivery and innovation, and established and nurtured extensive external networks locally, nationally and internationally,” he said.

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“As director of enterprise and executive dean of the Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences Peter has made major contributions to the development of UCS, represented its interests externally, and established a broad network of relationships which UCS will profit from in the future.

“Having helped UCS through its early formative stages, Peter leaves having completed his contribution to the establishment of this nationally important initiative and to pursue other career opportunities. He does so with the highest regard of his colleagues and the warmest thanks of the UCS Board, its senior team and its wider community stakeholders.”

Dr Funnell said he had been “privileged” to play a role in the creation of the UCS and the development of Suffolk New College (SNC).

“Both organisations offer excellent educational opportunities and contribute to the wider economy and cultural offer in Suffolk,” he said.

“Both are now uniquely placed to address the skills and knowledge requirements of the region through new facilities and contemporary models of community engagement. I wish colleagues and students in both UCS and SNC my very best wishes for the future.”

He said he was “delighted” to accept an invitation to become chief executive of IDEA Ltd, a joint venture between communications giant BT, University College London, the University of East Anglia, the University of Essex, UCS and SNC.

“IDEA is developing a unique skills escalator for the ICT and associated employment sectors, brokering services and encouraging innovation,” he said.

“I will also be leading a number of business development and evaluation projects through Oakmere Solutions Ltd, and plan to have some fun in newly appointed governance roles - as chair of the Eastern Angles Theatre Company and as a trustee of the Ipswich Town Community Trust - and established roles with the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and the New Wolsey Theatre.”