Professor Vignoles is a highly distinguished academic whose research has focused on issues of equity and value in education – in particular the relationship between educational achievement and social mobility and the role played by education and skills attainment in the economy and society. Much of her work focuses on how we can improve students’ academic achievements and help them to develop skills that they will need in the labour market. She has published widely on these and many other themes.
Her work consistently links research with policy and practice and she has advised numerous government departments, including the Department for Education, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, and HM Treasury. She has also acted as a Trustee of the Nuffield Foundation, Member of Council of the Economic and Social Research Council, and Member of the Advisory Board of the Sutton Trust. Professor Vignoles was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2017 and awarded a CBE in 2019 for services to social sciences. She is a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge.
Head of the Faculty of Education Professor Susan Robertson said: “This is not only a wonderful opportunity for Anna but a superb appointment that will benefit research and education in the UK and beyond. She will be an outstanding Director of the Leverhulme Trust and I know that she will relish and excel in the opportunity it brings to enable and support meaningful, change-making academic research.”
“At the same time this is bittersweet news for the Faculty because Anna is not simply a great scholar, but a generous colleague and friend. We will miss her a great deal in the Faculty and across the University of Cambridge.”
The Leverhulme Trust provides funding across a range of academic disciplines, including arts, sciences, engineering and social sciences, with the aim of supporting talented individuals to realise their potential vision in research and professional training. Professor Vignoles will replace the outgoing Director, Gordon Marshall.
Professor Vignoles said: “The Leverhulme Trust plays a unique role in the funding landscape and its commitment to fund curiosity-driven research has never been more vital. I look forward to working with the Leverhulme team to support research that is genuinely ground-breaking and pushes disciplinary boundaries.”
“I am so grateful for the many opportunities that I have had at Cambridge and for the wonderful support that I have had from my brilliant colleagues in the Faculty and at Jesus College. I shall miss them all greatly.”
Niall FitzGerald, Chairman of the Leverhulme Trust, said: “The challenge for the Trustees has been to find an exceptional academic leader and talent to succeed Gordon. We are fortunate that Anna Vignoles stood out in a very strong field of candidates, including several serving Vice-Chancellors. She brings all the requisite experience and skills but also values closely aligned with the special ethos of the Leverhulme Trust. I very much look forward to welcoming Anna and supporting her in what will be challenging years for academic research in the UK.”