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6 July 2004

New Vice-Chancellor for University of Surrey

The University of Surrey today announces the appointment of Professor Christopher M Snowden, FREng, CEng, FIEE, FIEEE as the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive with effect from 1 July 2005. Professor Snowden will succeed Professor Patrick J Dowling, CBE, DL, FREng, FRS, who retires from office on 30 June 2005.

Professor Snowden is currently Joint Chief Executive Officer at Filtronic plc., the UK’s most successful university spin-out company with 18 operations world-wide and sales of over $450 million. He is also Professor of Microwave Engineering at the University of Leeds and a Visiting Professor in Physics at the University of Durham. He has held a personal Chair of Microwave Engineering at the University of Leeds since 1992 and during the period 1995-98 he was Head of the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. He was the founder and first Director of the Institute of Microwaves and Photonics located in the School. During his time at Leeds he has supervised 49 successful PhD candidates to-date. He is still actively involved in research at Leeds. Professor Snowden is aged 48. He is married with two children and his interests include painting and photography.

Welcoming his appointment, Sir William Wells, Chairman of Council, said: "I am delighted that we have appointed Professor Snowden as the University’s next Vice-Chancellor. He will bring a unique blend of academic excellence and industrial experience to the role and build on the University’s many successes over the last few years. Professor Snowden will be joining a strong and committed team at UniS and I am sure that under his leadership the University will go from strength to strength."

Professor Snowden said, "I am honoured and delighted to be appointed and look forward to leading the University forward, gaining further recognition as a world-class institution in research, teaching, learning and enterprise. I am particularly keen to promote the drive for quality and success in all the University’s endeavours, whilst fostering an environment that fully values its staff and students."

Professor Snowden is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE). He is currently a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE (Electron Devices Society). He was recently awarded the 2004 Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal for his outstanding contributions to the UK microwave semiconductor industry. He was awarded the 1999 Microwave Prize of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society – only the second UK citizen to win this award in 50 years. He has written eight books and over 280 journal and conference papers.

Professor Snowden is a Non-Executive Director of Intense Photonics Ltd, which manufactures integrated optoelectronic products and a Non-Executive Director of CENAMPS Ltd, which is involved in microsystems and nanotechnology. He is a member of the UK’s National Advisory Committee on Electronic Materials and Devices and has advised on two of the Office of Science and Technology/DTI Foresight Programmes. He also advises Regional Development Agencies on technical and industrial investment strategies. He is Deputy Chairman of the European Microwave Association and is a member of the IEEE’s Compound Semiconductor Device Technology Committee. He is also an active member of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society serving on several of their committees.

After graduating from the University of Leeds in 1977 Professor Snowden worked for Mullard Ltd. He subsequently completed a joint programme between Leeds and Sheffield, an innovative arrangement at the time, graduating with an MSc from Leeds. His PhD studies were later conducted in association with Racal-MESL Ltd, Edinburgh, and were concerned with design of microwave oscillators for Radar applications. He won the Leeds F W Carter Prize for the best PhD in his year. He subsequently joined the newly formed Department of Electronics as a Lecturer at the University of York before moving to the University of Leeds where he became a Senior Lecturer, also serving for a time as the Warden of Bodington Hall, the University of Leeds’ largest hall of residence. He later worked as the Senior Staff Scientist in Corporate Research and Development at M/A-COM Inc. in the USA, where he was responsible for managing joint development programmes with AT&T and Westinghouse. He has been a consultant for several other major microwave electronics companies in the USA and UK.

For further information or a photograph of Professor Snowden, please contact Liz Morgan-Lewis, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, University of Surrey on 01483 683932 or e mail

Notes to editors

  1. The University of Surrey is one of the UK’s leading professional, scientific and technological universities with a world class research profile and a reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Ground-breaking research at the University is bringing direct benefit to all spheres of life – helping industry to maintain its competitive edge and creating improvements in the areas of health, medicine, space science, the environment, communications, defence and social policy. Programmes in science and technology have gained widespread recognition and it also boasts flourishing programmes in dance and music, social sciences, management and languages and law. In addition to the campus on 150 hectares just outside Guildford, Surrey, the University also owns and runs the Surrey Research Park, which provides facilities for 110 companies employing 2,700 staff. Since 1997, the University of Surrey has held its place at the top of The Sunday Times league tables as the UK University which is 'top for jobs'.
  2. The current Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Surrey is Professor Dowling CBE, DL, FREng, FRS. He is Chair of the Business and Industry Sector Group of Universities UK and is currently an advisor to SEEDA, the South East England Development Agency. Under his leadership since 1994, the University of Surrey draws strength from an enormous network of partnerships with industry and commerce. More than five hundred companies, ranging from SMEs to multinationals, work actively with the University. Earlier this year the British Association for the Advancement of Science announced that Professor Dowling will take on the Chair of the BA Council from September 2005, following his retirement from UniS.