Professor West trained as a Podiatrist and Podiatric Surgeon in London, working in the NHS and private/commercial sector from 1982. He entered academia in 1984 as a lecturer, then senior lecturer, at The Chelsea School of Chiropody and Podiatric Medicine, The London Foot Hospital and Westminster University. He developed his research interests at King’s College London in the Department of Bioengineering and at Roehampton Limb Fitting Centre. In 1990 he took up a post as Associate Dean and Head of the Department of Podiatry at Huddersfield University and later became Dean of the School of Health and Behavioural Sciences in 1992.
In 1995 he joined UWE Bristol as Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Care and Professor of Health and Social Care. In this post he merged three Colleges of Health into a new Faculty, establishing one of the largest Faculties of Health and Social Care in the UK. In this time he also consolidated the delivery of nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy, radiography and occupational therapy, onto three regional campuses.
In 2005 he became Pro Vice-Chancellor at UWE Bristol, with the planning and resources portfolio. In 2006 he became Deputy Vice-Chancellor and was later appointed Acting Vice-Chancellor in August 2007.
In May 2008 Professor West took up post as Vice-Chancellor, at the age of 46. Professor West is a Fellow of the Society of Chiropodists, Fellow of the College of Podiatric Medicine and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. He continues to develop his research interest in Lower Limb Biomechanics and the Diabetic Foot and holds a number of honorary and advisory appointments in his discipline, and healthcare policy and practice, both nationally and internationally.
In August 2012, Professor West became Chair of University Alliance. University Alliance brings together 24 of the most innovative and enterprising universities in the UK – major institutions combining science and technology with a focus on delivering for the professions, business and the community.
In 2013, Professor West became President of Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the West of England Initiative, forging the link between a business-facing university and the business leadership organisation Business West.
In June 2013, Professor West was appointed as the first Chair of the new West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN). The network is one of 15 across the country that aim to transform health and healthcare by putting innovation at the heart of the NHS. In this role, Professor West will bring together a wide range of partners including health commissioners and providers, universities, industry and other stakeholders to improve some of the big and difficult health issues.