Chris Brink

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Chris Brink

Newcastle University
In office
July 2007 – December 2016[1]
Preceded by Sir Christopher Edwards
Succeeded by Chris Day[2]
Rector and Vice-Chancellor
Stellenbosch University
In office
Preceded by van Wyk, A.H.
Succeeded by Botman, H.R.
Personal details
Born (1951-01-31) 31 January 1951 (age 68)
Alma mater Rand Afrikaans University
Rhodes University
University of Cambridge

Chris Brink, CBE, FRSSAf (born 31 January 1951) is a South African mathematician and academic. He was the Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University between 2007 and December 2016.[3]


After graduating with a degree in maths and computer science from Rand Afrikaans University, Brink undertook post-graduate study at Rhodes University and the University of Cambridge.[4] He became professor and head of mathematics and applied mathematics at the University of Cape Town in 1995, pro-vice-chancellor (research) at the University of Wollongong in 1999 and rector and vice-chancellor of Stellenbosch University in 2002 before being appointed vice-chancellor of Newcastle University in 2007.[5]

In the 1980s Chris Brink was a senior research fellow at the Australian National University.[6] In 1994 he joined with Gunther Schmidt to organize at Dagstuhl the initial RAMiCS conference on relation algebra. In 1996 The Foundation for Research Development in South Africa rated Chris Brink in category A.[7] He is a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa,[8] a former President of the South African Mathematical Society, a Founder Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa[9] and a former chair of the Advisory Board of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences.[10]

He chaired the Student Policy Network[11] (part of Universities UK) and the N8 Research Partnership, a group of eight research-intensive universities in the North of England.[12][13] Nationally he has served on the Board of the Equality Challenge Unit (including two years as a Co-Chair),[14] the Board of the Quality Assurance Agency (and its Advisory Committee on Degree-Awarding Powers),[15] and the Advisory Committee on Leadership, Governance and Management of the Higher Education Funding Council for England.[16]

In November 2015, it was announced that Brink would be retiring in December 2016.[17] He was succeeded by Professor Chris Day, the current Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle, in January 2017.[18]

Since 2017 Brink has served on the University Grants Committee (Hong Kong), where he chairs the 2020 Research Assessment Exercise Group.[19] His book The Soul of a University – Why excellence is not enough was published by Bristol University Press in July 2018.[20] It deals with the role of universities in society, and elaborates on the two key questions he became known for while at Newcastle University: ‘What are we good at?’, and ‘What are we good for?’ He was appointed a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2018.[21]

Work in mathematics

Chris Brink developed the study of Boolean modules over relation algebras.[22] He focused on formal aspects of computer science with emphasis on program semantics[23] and Popper's concept of verisimilitude and on the universal-algebraic concept of power structures.[24]


  1. ^ Elmes, John (25 November 2015). "Newcastle University vice-chancellor to retire next year". Times Higher Education. TES Global. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  2. ^ Grove, Jack (11 July 2016). "Newcastle University looks close to home for new v-c". Times Higher Education. TES Global. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  3. ^ Elmes, John (25 November 2015). "Newcastle University vice-chancellor to retire next year". TES Global. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  4. ^ Higher Education Academy
  5. ^ "Newcastle University names next Vice-Chancellor". Newcastle University. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
  6. ^ "What can higher education contribute to improving social mobility in the UK?" (PDF). Higher Education Academy. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  7. ^ "Previous A-rated researchers". National Research Foundation South Africa. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  8. ^ "Fellows of the Royal Society of South Africa". Royal Society of South Africa. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Members List". Academy of Science of South Africa. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  10. ^ "Annual Report 2013" (PDF). African Institute for Mathematical Sciences South Africa. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  11. ^ "UK Board". Universities UK. Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  12. ^ "N8 Board of Directors". N8 Research Partnership. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  13. ^ "Newcastle Science City Board". Newcastle Science City. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  14. ^ "Equality Challenge Unit Board of Directors". Equality Challenge Unit. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  15. ^ "QAA Annual Subscribers' Meeting 2010". Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  16. ^ "Expert Advisory Board – Members' Profiles". Advisory Committee on Leadership, Governance and Management of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  17. ^ "University announces Vice-Chancellor's retirement". Press Office. Newcastle University. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Professor Chris Day appointed as next Vice-Chancellor". Press Office. Newcastle University. 11 July 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  19. ^ "Membership of Research Assessment Exercise Group". University Grants Committee. University Grants Committee. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  20. ^ Kelly, Jo. "Former university vice-chancellor launches new book exploring the role of higher education in society". Northern Echo. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  21. ^ Hutchinson, Lisa. "Queen's birthday honours revealed - the North East list in full". Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Boolean_modules". Journal of Algebra. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  23. ^ "A Paradigm for Program Semantics: Power Structures and Duality". CSLI Publications. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  24. ^ Brink, Chris (1993). "Power structures". Algebra Universalis. 30 (2): 177–216. doi:10.1007/BF01196091.

External links

  • Official website of the Rector, Stellenbosch University
  • Personal website
Academic offices
Preceded by
Christopher Edwards
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Succeeded by
Chris Day
Retrieved from ""
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