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Review Board: Dr Richard Armour

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Born and brought up in Scotland, Dr Richard Armour has over 36 years’ experience in higher education, in faculty, administrative and leadership positions in various universities and funding bodies around the world. Originally an MA graduate from the University of Glasgow, he also undertook an MSc Research Methods, followed by a PhD from the University of London. His research focussed mainly on the student experience of higher education.

He worked at Glasgow College of Technology (1979) followed by the University of Strathclyde (1984) and the then Queen Margaret College (now university) (1989) where he was Assistant Principal and College Secretary.

In 1992 he moved to Hong Kong as Director of Academic Planning at the then City Polytechnic of Hong Kong (now University). During that six year period he won a major UGC research grant HK$10m (US$1.3m) to evaluate the quality of the student experience. He became Registrar of the Open University of Hong Kong. In 2006, he joined Griffith University in Australia as Registrar. He returned to Hong Kong in January 2009 to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to take up the post of Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to the President; a significant leadership role at an extraordinarily successful young university, ranked #1 in the world of universities under 50 years old. He was a full member of the five person executive overseeing the whole university. He deputised for the President on many occasions.

Richard was appointed to the role of Secretary-General (SG) of the University Grants Committee (UGC) in January 2012, in which capacity he served until January 2018. The UGC is the funding, planning, policy formulation and research grants body for Hong Kong’s highly ranked university sector. In this role as SG, he oversaw the largest single budget in the Hong Kong Government, some HK$60bn (US$8.0 bn). He was the Accounting Officer to the Legislature for these funds and regularly appeared before legislative bodies. He stepped down from this HK Government position in January 2018 having served six years and returned to Edinburgh. His HK Government contract precluded him from taking up a position in higher education world-wide for 12 months. That moratorium ended in January 2019.

In November 2012 he was greatly honoured by being appointed to the designation Global Scot by the (then) First Minister.

The Hong Kong Government appointed Richard as a Justice of the Peace (JP) in July 2013.

He remains a registered quality assurance auditor with Hong Kong’s Quality Assurance Council.

Since January 2018 he has continued to serve Hong Kong higher education as an international member of UGC Committees (including the Strategic Planning Committee and that overseeing the Hong Kong REF).

In April 2018 he was appointed to membership of the Council of Research England, a newly established national research funding body in the UK, where he chairs the International Investment Initiative Fund (I3 Fund) and serves on the Research England Development Fund panel.

Richard created his own consultancy company in January 2019. So far he has undertaken projects for the University of Birmingham and Ireland’s HEA, among others.

SFC Strategic Plan 2022-27

Building a connected, agile, sustainable tertiary education and research system for Scotland.

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