The Principal is responsible for the overall operation of the University. As Vice-Chancellor he confers degrees on behalf of the Chancellor.
The Principal is President of the Senatus Academicus and ex-officio, a member of the University Court. He is nominated by the Curators of Patronage and appointed by the University Court.
As Vice-Chancellor he confers degrees on behalf of the Chancellor HRH The Princess Royal.
Professor Sir Peter Mathieson
Professor Sir Peter Mathieson MBBS(Hons)(London), PhD(Cambridge), FRCP(London), FRCPE, FMedSci, FRSE, FRSA has been the 35th Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh since February 2018. Prior to that he held an analogous role as 15th President of the University of Hong Kong between April 2014 and January 2018.
Peter Mathieson was born and educated in the United Kingdom. He went to a state grammar school in Penzance, Cornwall and was the first member of his family to go to university. He read Medicine at the London Hospital Medical College and qualified with First Class Honours from the University of London in 1983. After junior medical posts in London, he obtained a research training fellowship from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to study at the University of Cambridge. He was awarded a PhD by the University of Cambridge in 1992. He became Director of Studies for Clinical Medicine at Christ’s College, Cambridge following his PhD. After a further MRC fellowship he moved to Bristol in 1995 as the foundation Professor of Renal Medicine at the University of Bristol and Honorary Consultant Nephrologist, North Bristol NHS Trust. In 1999, he was elected to Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2021 he was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 2022 he was nominated as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He has been a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London) since 1998 and of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh since 2018. Peter was knighted for services to higher education in 2023.
In 2007, Peter became Head of the University Department of Clinical Science at North Bristol, was appointed as Director of Research & Development for the North Bristol NHS Trust, and was elected President of the Renal Association (the UK’s national speciality association for nephrologists and renal scientists) in a competitive ballot of the membership, being the youngest President in its history. He served the full three year term as President and remained a Trustee for a further two years as Immediate Past-President. He was honoured to be invited to join the Renal Association’s small list of Honorary Life Members in 2021.
In 2008 Peter was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Bristol, serving his initial five year term and most of a sixth year thereafter. He played a major role in the formation of Bristol Health Partners from 2008 onwards and was appointed as its founding Director in May 2012, a role he undertook alongside that of Dean. He remains an Honorary Professor of Medicine at the University of Bristol.
In April 2014, Peter assumed office as the 15th President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong (HKU), a post he held until January 2018. He remains an Honorary Professor of Medicine in the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at HKU.
In 2011 he was awarded honorary life membership of the Australian & New Zealand Society of Nephrology. In March 2015 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Hughes Hall, Cambridge and in October 2016 Honorary Fellowship of Hong Kong College of Physicians.
Of the various prizes and academic awards that he has received, he is most proud of being voted "Teacher of the Year" by Cambridge medical students in 1992; the Milne-Muehrcke award from the Renal Association and the National Kidney Foundation of USA for “most promising young researcher” from UK in 1997; the UK Renal Association Lockwood Award (for contribution to academic renal medicine) in 2004; and being voted “top teacher 2011-12” by Foundation doctors at University Hospitals Bristol.
External Boards and Committees
Peter is a member of:
- Advisory Panel of Cyberport, Hong Kong
- Executive Committee, Universitas21
- League of European Research Universities Board, Coimbra Group, UNICA and UNA Europa
- Russell Group Board
- Universities UK
- Board of the Scottish Funding Council
- Universities Scotland Main Committee
- Universities Scotland, Lead Member for Health
- University Council for the All-Party Parliamentary University Group
- Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group
- City Region Deal Joint Committee, chair of the Further Education/Higher Education strategy group
- International Advisory Board, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
- International Advisory Board, Centre for Asian Studies, University of Texas at Dallas, USA
- Convenor, European Regional Committee, Association of Commonwealth Universities
- Talloires Network Steering Committee
- First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls
- Financial Services Advisory Board
- Hub for Success Advisory Board
- Chair of Confucius Institute Council
- Newbattle Abbey College Trust
- Eric Liddell Strategic Leadership Group
- February 2021: appointed by the Russell Group Board as lead member for national and international security issues in higher education, alongside analogous role for Universities UK since July 2021.