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Christopher Snowden

President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey

Sir Christopher Snowden has been President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey since 2005. He is a distinguished engineer with wide experience of the international microwave and semiconductor industry. He was Knighted in the 2012 New Year’s Honours for services to engineering and higher education.

He is a member of the Prime Minister’s advisory Council for Science and Technology. Until August 2013 he was Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and was President of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (2009-10).

Sir Christopher is President of Universities UK (2013-2015). He is a member of the Council for Industry and Higher Education, and sits on the governing body of the UK’s InnovateUK (previously known as the Technology Strategy Board). Until March 2012 Sir Christopher was a Member of the Council of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

He has previous experience as a Non-Executive Director of several technology companies and advises several others. Prior to his appointment at Surrey on 1st August 2005, Sir Christopher was Chief Executive Officer of Filtronic ICS. He joined Filtronic plc in 1998 as Director of Technology before being promoted to Joint Chief Executive Officer in 1999. He was Chair of Higher Education Research Opportunities (HERO) Ltd. from 2006-2008 and a member of the UK’s Engineering Technology Board 2007-9.

He is a Patron of Surrey Youth Focus and was the Chair of the Daphne Jackson Trust from 2005-2009. He is a former Governor of the Royal Surrey Count Hospital NHS Trust.

After graduating from the University of Leeds in 1977 Sir Christopher worked for Mullard Ltd in Surrey. His PhD studies were later conducted at Leeds in association with Racal MESL Ltd. He worked as the Senior Staff Scientist in Corporate Research and Development at M/A-COM Inc. in the USA, from 1989 to 1991 and was retained as their corporate consultant until 1998. He has been a consultant for several other major international microwave electronics companies in the USA and UK. Sir Christopher held the personal Chair of Microwave Engineering at the University of Leeds from 1992-2005 and was Head of the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering from 1995-98. He was the founder and first Director of the Institute of Microwaves and Photonics located in the School. During his time at Leeds he supervised 50 successful PhD candidates. He was a Visiting Professor at the University of Durham until 2005 and University of Delft from 1996-98.

Sir Christopher is a Fellow of the Royal Society, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the IET and a Fellow of the City and Guilds Institute. He was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Silver Medal in 2004 for his “outstanding contributions to the UK microwave semiconductor industry”. He was a Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Electron Devices Society for seven years until 2005. He was awarded the 1999 Microwave Prize of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society – only the second UK citizen in 58 years to receive this accolade. In 2009 he was awarded the IEEE Distinguished Educator Award of the Microwave Theory and Techniques Society. He received the 2012 Outstanding Career Award from the European Microwave Association. He has published 8 books and over 300 technical papers.


  • –present
    President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey