Monday 11 November 2019


A delegation of UK university leaders and scientists led by the British Council’s Chief Executive, Sir Ciarán Devane, will arrive in Moscow on Monday 11 November for a four day visit aimed at deepening UK-Russia collaboration and partnership in research, science and higher education.

The delegation of fifteen includes Professor Carole Mundell, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Chief Scientific Adviser, and Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor of Exeter University and Professor Sir Martin Poliakoff, and will visit Moscow and St Petersburg.

Delegates will discuss plans to expand joint research, explore how to increase student mobility between Russia and the UK, how to grow the transnational education market and how to create opportunities for early career researchers (building on the Future Science programme which has connected 1,000 young scientists in both countries over the last three years).

Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council, said:

“We very much welcome the opportunity to discuss the importance of increased mobility, joint research and partnerships between UK and Russian universities, and we look forward to a return visit to London by Russian Rectors in the summer of 2020.”

The visit will include the 1st Russia-UK Rectors’ Forum at Moscow State University, hosted by the Russian Rectors’ Union in partnership with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, visits to three major Russian universities and formal and informal engagement with a wide range of contacts.

A Memorandum of Understanding on collaboration will be signed by the Russian Rectors’ Union and Universities UK International and will include plans for a return visit to the UK in June 2020, to coincide with the British Council’s annual Going Global conference. 

Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, said:

"I am pleased to be on this delegation to Moscow and St Petersburg as St Andrews University has a range of research collaborations with Russian universities, and I am interested to see what new opportunities exist to develop these partnerships further.”



 For more information, please contact Alison Langley on +44 (0) 203 285 3781 or at


Notes to Editor

Full list of delegates

Maddalaine Ansell, Director Education, British Council

Professor Dame Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor, University of Liverpool,

Professor Sir Paul Curran, President, City, University of London

Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, British Council

Professor Stephen Flint, Associate Vice President, The University of Manchester

Professor Philip Gilmartin, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Hull

Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of St Andrews

Clarie Middleton, Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Rose Bruford College, London’s International Drama School of Theatre and Performance

Professor Carole Mundell, Chief Scientific Adviser, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy and Head of Astrophysics, University of Bath

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Edinburgh Napier University

Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff, Research Professor of Chemistry, University of Nottingham

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor and Chief-Executive, Exeter University

Vivienne Stern, Director, Universities UK International

Professor Saul Tendler, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Provost, University of York

Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Nottingham

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter, and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK