President and Vice-Chancellor

President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nishan Canagarajah took up his post on Monday 4 November 2019.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah was born and educated in Sri Lanka. He was awarded a BA (Hons) and a PhD by the University of Cambridge in 1989 and 1993, respectively. In 1993 he joined the University of Bristol and in 2004 became a Professor of Multimedia Signal Processing. He served as the Faculty of Engineering Research Director (2006-2009), Head of Department of Computer Science (2009-2010), Head of Merchant Venturers School of Engineering (2010-2011), and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering (2011-2014). Nishan took up the post of Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise in August 2014 where he had overall responsibility for all research and enterprise activities.

Nishan was appointed as President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester on 4 November 2019. He is the first BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Vice-Chancellor in the University’s history.

Nishan’s research contributions in image segmentation and texture classification are internationally recognised, and his research on audio signal processing led to an interactive exhibit, Virtual Drum, at the Science Museum, London. He led several successful international research partnerships and is currently theme leader for the £5 million joint EPSRC/DST collaborative programme on next generation Telecommunications Systems and Services, which includes both UK and Indian universities and industrial partners.

Nishan has served on a range of national and international panels on research funding, governance and postgraduate education. He acted as a Technical Consultant for several industrial partners including Sony, BT, the BBC, Orange, Thales, Toshiba and the Metropolitan Police. Previously, Nishan chaired the University Executive Committee for the National Composites Centre, was a Non-Executive Director for North Bristol Trust, and served on the HEFCE STEM Review Advisory Board.

Nishan’s unwavering commitment to equality has led the University of Leicester to drive inclusion improvements in one of the most diverse universities in the UK where 52% of its students come from a BAME background. Nishan has committed the University to setting the standard for a diverse and inclusive institution and pledged to eliminate the awarding gap between BAME and white students by 2025.

Ensuring the University has a positive impact on its locality, working in partnership with organisations and improving the lives of people through world-class research and educational benefits is key to his mission. ‘Citizens of Change’ expresses the ethos of the University to bring about a transformative impact on the lives of all members of the University community as well beyond the campus.

Nishan has articulated his vision for Leicester to be globally recognised as a research intensive university with transformative teaching and an excellent student experience. A focus on supporting inter-disciplinary research to tackle major societal challenges facing us today is key.

Since joining Leicester, Nishan has been appointed to these national roles:

Nishan is married with three children. 

To get in touch with the Vice Chancellor:

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2320

"Our academic excellence makes us leaders in the field of research which we will be celebrating in the lead-up to our 100th anniversary. Universities have the ability to transform lives and I truly believe in the motto of this institution, ‘So that they may have life’. I would like to make sure everyone who comes into contact with this institution has their life transformed because of the University of Leicester."