President & Provost


About the President & Provost

Find out about Dr Michael Spence, President & Provost of UCL since January 2021.

Biography: Dr Michael Spence

Dr Michael Spence AC joined UCL as President & Provost in January 2021, joining the university from the University of Sydney where he was Vice-Chancellor from 2008 to 2020. 

Click to read more

UCL President & Provost, Dr Michael Spence (at UCL East)
Since arriving, he has led a year-long university-wide consultation to develop the UCL Strategic Plan 2022-27, which sets out UCL’s priorities and ambitions for the next five years in order to strengthen the excellence of UCL’s education, research and innovation, underpinned by a robust financial strategy and improvement of the processes and services that underpin academic excellence. Work to implement the plan is now underway.

In his first years at UCL, he has led the university through the complexities of reopening campus following the end of Covid lockdowns and the transition from online back to in-person learning for a global community. He has also overseen the opening of UCL East, UCL’s major new campus in East London, in September 2022, building key strategic relationships with local government, businesses and community organisations in that area.

As a long-standing proponent of universities as crucibles for debate and dialogue, he has established himself as a leading voice within the UK and beyond promoting the art of ‘disagreeing well’, and is spearheading a new programme of activities shortly to launch at UCL which will explore approaches to developing the skill of constructive debate around challenging issues.

As Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, he led the university’s rise to first in Australia and fourth in the world for graduate employability. He was responsible for raising a record one billion Australian dollars through the INSPIRED philanthropic campaign, which transformed the university’s campus by funding major new research and education centres, bringing resources to life-changing medical research and providing more than 2,000 scholarships and education initiatives for new and existing students.

Dr Spence is recognised internationally as a leader in the field of intellectual property theory and holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford, where he headed Oxford’s Law faculty and Social Sciences division.

An alumnus of the University of Sydney, Dr Spence has a BA with first-class honours in English, Italian and Law. His other languages include Chinese and Korean.

In 2017, Dr Spence was named a Companion of the Order of Australia in recognition of his service to the higher education sector and in 2018 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales.

May 2023



Highlights: campaigns and updates

Dr Michael Spence

President & Provost's news and views

Updates from the President & Provost including his regular messages to the UCL community, media interviews and speeches.

Disagreeing Well teaser (framed)

Disagreeing Well

In this time of increasingly polarised debate, it has never been more important for us to be able to Disagree Well. Find out more.

Alison Koslowski

New senior EDI role

Find out the latest about equality, diversity and inclusion at UCL with the appoinment of Professor Alison Koslowski to the role of UCL’s new Pro-Provost (Equity & Inclusion).

UCL Strategic Plan 2022-27 cover

Our Strategic Plan

Our plan sets out our whole-university priorities for the next five years, focusing effort and investment on a programme of change to support our 2034 vision and mission.

UCL Portico with yellow trees (drone view)

Annual Review

This review showcases a cross-section of the extraordinary work of our community over 2022, and celebrates the huge variety and impact of our activities.

UCL University of the Year 2024 logo

UCL named University of the Year 2024

UCL has been awarded the University of the Year 2024 by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide.