Michael Spence

President & Provost at University College London

Prior to this he was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney (2008–2020). Under his leadership, it has risen to first in Australia and fourth in the world for graduate employability.

He embedded diversity and inclusion in the university’s culture, delivered significant investment in multi-disciplinary research activity, transformed the undergraduate experience and created strategic partnerships with leading industry, government and community organisations across the globe.

As Vice-Chancellor, Dr Spence has been responsible for raising a record one billion Australian dollars through the INSPIRED philanthropic campaign - the largest philanthropic campaign in Australian history. This fundraising has 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.

Dr Spence moved to London in 2021 with his wife and four of his eight children.


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  • President & Provost

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