Pofessor Zahir Irani studied Manufacturing Engineering at University before then working as a Project Engineer for several years. He then secured a scholarship where he completed a PhD in Investment Decision Making in London. He then started his academic career in the Department of Computer Science at Brunel University London. Five years later becoming a Professor, followed by a period as Head of Department, where he championed industry-academia partnerships. A move to a more senior management position soon after, saw him lead the Brunel Business School.
His professional development has seen him complete his leadership and financial management training at Harvard Business School (HBS) and University of Cambridge, respectively. After completing a 7-year tenure as Head of the Brunel Business School, where he won the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) Business School of the Year award, he accepted an invitation to work in Central Government, where he was seconded to Whitehall as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Cabinet Office during the UK coalition Government. On completion, he then returned to academia, to assume a Founding Dean role, of the newly established College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences at Brunel University London; an amalgamation of four previous Schools – Business, Law, Social Sciences and Education.
Later, he headed back up North, to the University of Bradford, where, as Dean of Faculty (Management and Law), he led a successful merger with the Faculty of Social Sciences before then assumed the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor; focusing on marketing and recruitment, student experience, student employability and new programme development. He is an active advocate of equality, diversity and inclusion and, works closely with numerous local employers and, professional networks in a personal and professional capacity. Professor Zahir Irani has also remained an active researcher throughout his career, and was recently featured by Guide2Research in their top 30 UK computer scientists with much of his research being funded.
Professor Irani is the Deputy-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Bradford, with responsibility for Academic, Innovation and Quality, where he is accountable through internal governance for the four academic faculties, Directorate of Outreach, Recruitment and Marketing (DORM), Directorate of Student & Academic Services (including registry, career services, etc), Directorate of Quality and Teaching Enhancement and, Campus Information Services (IT). Professor Irani also leads the transformation and growth of the University’s undergraduate, postgraduate (taught and research) educational portfolio through Faculty and Professional services, where he on innovation and enhancing the quality of student experience, teaching practice, curriculum development and support for student learning and success.
Professor Zahir Irani has been recognized locally by the Bradford based Professional Muslim Institute (PMI), Volunteering Interfaith Partnerships (VIP) and Age UK (Bradford and District) for his work to support vulnerable communities and social inclusion - where the University plays a leading civic role. He is also playing a leading regional role to support social and economic value creation, having been appointed by the Bradford Metropolitan District Council as the Chair of the Bradford Economic Recovery Board following Covid-19. He is also a member of the Council Wellbeing board.
In 2020, Professor Irani was named by the Sunday Times as a leading Bradford influencer.