AboutApplyProgramme teamTestimonialsAlumniPartners

Entrepreneurial Leaders helps university leaders drive change, providing concepts and strategies to respond to the rapidly changing environment

Leading change

Uncertainty and a rapidly evolving landscape is forcing universities and entrepreneurial leaders to respond to a challenging and complex set of issues that affect higher education.

This programme introduces participants to the entrepreneurial university concept, encouraging an entrepreneurial mind-set and behaviour that can be embedded into their institution by using entrepreneurial thinking.

Our programme offers entrepreneurial leaders the opportunity to interact with influential policy makers, leading vice-chancellors and experts in the field of university education giving them a platform to respond to current and potential future change.

Entrepreneurial leaders not only benefit from this programme as individuals but they also return to their institution with the innovative knowledge required to overcome and drive change within their institution.

Who should apply?

This programme is designed for senior leaders within the university sector who are:

  • Driven to lead change within their institution and guide the institution’s strategic direction
  • Able to perceive opportunities for entrepreneurial activity especially in resource constrained environments
  • Concerned about the challenges of research capability, student employability, enterprise and student attainment
  • Keen to extend their networks and learn more about higher education

2018 Programme details

Module 1
16 – 19 January 2018
Egrove Park, University of Oxford

With a focus on the concept of the Entrepreneurial University, participants will hear from vice-chancellors about the entrepreneurial challenges they face and how they are meeting them. Participants will be put into tutor groups where they will be supported by our alumni to explore case studies and strategies to face change. These tutor groups will also meet in between modules.

Module 2
10 – 13 April 2018
Teesside University

The second module applies the knowledge gained from module one into practice. Hearing from universities and considering case studies including those based on the host institution, participants will consider how to face challenges within higher education. Participants will also identify ways to change and innovate within their own institution.

Module 3
3 – 6 July 2018
Universities UK, Central London

The final module focuses on actions for change. Participants will be supported to plan for entrepreneurial change within their own university. Participants will hear from leading policy makers to explore some of the current issues facing them and their institution.

Attendance and contribution to the programme leads to an Entrepreneurial Leaders Fellowship.


Download our Entrepreneurial Leaders brochure here.

For any administrative enquiries or to register your interest in the 2019 programme, please contact Lisa on 02476 158 126 or lisa.hunt@ncee.org.uk.

To discuss more about the benefits of the programme please contact Liz Bromley, Entrepreneurial Leaders Ambassador on lbromley@uclan.ac.uk.


Download our Entrepreneurial Leaders brochure here.

For any administrative enquiries or to register your interest in the 2019 programme, please contact Lisa on 02476 158 126 or lisa.hunt@ncee.org.uk.

To discuss more about the benefits of the programme please contact Liz Bromley, Entrepreneurial Leaders Ambassador on lbromley@uclan.ac.uk.

Programme team

Professor Lesley Dobree
Programme Director – Former Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Anglia Ruskin University

Professor Dobree has extensive knowledge, expertise and experience of leadership within higher education gained over a period of 25 years. She has held a range of senior posts including Dean of Faculty and, for 13 years, until July 2017 was Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Anglia Ruskin University. Lesley’s successful academic career was built on her early professional experience of working as a nurse and midwife and later in a range of senior management roles in London teaching hospital NHS Trusts. She has now set up her own company Dialogue for Success, which provides executive coaching and consultancy services. Lesley was a participant on the programme in 2012 and has been a supporter of the programme ever since.

Liz Bromley
Ambassador – Deputy Vice-Chancellor at University of Central Lancashire

Liz joined the University of Central Lancashire in September 2016 where she is responsible for the university’s planning processes, international strategy, student administration, communications and marketing. Prior to this Liz spent four years as Registrar and Secretary of Goldsmiths, University of London, where she led many university strategic projects and delivered a full range of student support services. Earlier in her career, she developed the sector leading Student Life division at the University of Salford, delivering innovative services to enable student success, with a focus on employability and student entrepreneurship during and after their studies. Liz was a participant on the 2014 programme and has since been a tutor.

Ceri Nursaw
NCEE, Chief Executive Officer

Ceri Nursaw has a 20-year track record of leading, influencing and developing organisational and national policy. She has worked at a senior level in higher education supporting innovative and creative partnerships with local authorities Government, the private sector, charities, schools, colleges and communities. Until April 2013 Ceri was Head of Access and Community Engagement at the University of Leeds where she led a team of over 30 to support regional engagement, fair access, admissions, recruitment, community relations and local and national policy development. Her experience was recognised by being a member of HEFCE’s Strategic Committee for Enterprise and Skills and providing policy advice to the Departments for Education and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Since 2013 she has also led Nursaw Associates, which provides consultancy and project implementation support to further social mobility. Launched just over three years ago it has already established itself with clients such as Health Education England, Office for Fair Access, Medical Schools Council, the Sutton Trust, the NHS and universities across the country including Oxford, York St John, Birmingham and Warwick.

Lisa Hunt
Events & Projects Officer

Lisa joined NCEE in December 2012 where she is responsible for the planning, co-ordinating, promoting and delivering all of NCEE’s events and external engagement programmes. Prior to this Lisa worked for iLuka on behalf of Lloyds Banking Group planning and co-ordinating game time readiness for their top VIP clients during the Olympics and Paralympics. Lisa is an accomplished event organiser who built a name for herself and her company whilst living in South Africa. Lisa worked closely with Ambassadors and High Commissions representing their countries within the African continent by hosting events that focused on specific opportunities which assisted companies to grow their market shares throughout Africa. Lisa has fourteen years experience and has worked in multiple areas of the events industry throughout her career.

Previous contributors have included

Sir Drummond Bone, Master of Balliol College, University of Oxford
Rebecca Bunting, Vice-Chancellor, Bucks New University
Tracey Camilleri, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School
Bob Cryan, Vice-Chancellor, University of Huddersfield
Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive, Universities UK
John Domingue, Director Knowledge Media Institute, Open University
Sue Dopson, Associate Dean of Faculty Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
Sir Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Dundee
Ian Dunn, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, Coventry University
Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University
Allan Gibb, Professor Emeritus Small Business Management, University of Durham
Buck Goldstein, University Entrepreneur in Residence and Professor, University of North Carolina
Loren Griffith, Director of international Strategy, University of Oxford
Andrew Hamilton, Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford
David Hartley, Commercial & Knowledge Transfer, Oxford Brookes University
Gay Haskins, Special Adviser, University of Oxford and NCEE
Graham Henderson, Former Vice-Chancellor, Teesside University
Nick Hillman, Director, Higher Education Policy Institute
Will Hutton, Principal, Hertford College
Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive, Centre for Cities
Suzy Kerr Pertič, Special Adviser, NCEE
Paul Kirkbright, Deputy Provost, University Centre Shrewsbury
Nigel Lockett, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Lancaster University Management School
Lynn Martin, Director of the Centre for Enterprise, Manchester Metropolitan University
Sir Jim McDonald, Principal, University of Strathclyde
Paul O’Prey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Roehampton
Nick Petford, Vice-Chancellor, University of Northampton
Kevin Richardson, Local Growth Consultant to HEFCE
Andrew Stevenson, Director of Research and Enterprise, University of Lincoln
Tuula Teeri, President, Aalto University
Mike Thomas, Vice-Chancellor, University of Central Lancashire
Bruno Tindemans, CEO, Syntra
Mikkel Trym, Innovation and Research Lab, Cophenhagen
Belinda Tynan, PVC Learning and Innovation, Open University
Lucy Winskell, Interim Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Faculty of Business and Law, University of Northumbria
Laura Woods, Director of Academic Enterprise, Teesside University

It has been a real privilege to hear from so many Vice-Chancellors, DVCs and PVCs about their experience of entrepreneurial leadership in a wide range of HEIs. I have also valued the opportunity to learn from other leaders focused on ‘future thinking’
Jenny Ames, Assistant Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of South Wales

Challenges your thinking and takes you out of your comfort zone
Karen Bryan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University

The programme offered a wide lens to examine entrepreneurialism across varied perspectives from leadership and management to teaching, research and community partnerships and engagement. The program agenda was packed with visionaries who openly and generously contributed their experiences and reflections. The atmosphere was conducive to thinking and exploration and the group sessions encouraged exchange and dialogue
Mirvat Bulbul, Executive Dean, Birzeit University, Palestine

Entrepreneurial ways of thinking and working have never been more in demand in Higher Education. It was very valuable to bring together senior leaders for whom entrepreneurial behaviours and mindsets are essential, to share their experiences, challenge orthodoxies and enable a wider understanding of sector leadership
Rebecca Bunting, Vice-Chancellor, Buckinghamshire New University

Provocative, relevant and timely, I valued hugely my time on the programme. It’s been fascinating to watch the career trajectories of those in my cohort (and their institutions) and living proof of the impact of the course
Professor Paul Gough, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President RMIT University, Australia

This course helped me develop a deeper understanding of the ever increasingly complex landscape in which universities need to operate entrepreneurially so as to sustain their future whilst staying true to values
Mark d’ Inverno, Pro-Warden Research and Enterprise, Goldsmiths, University of London

Fascinating set of speakers and opportunities to discuss key issues and great networking
Andrew Ireland, Executive Dean, University of Central Lancashire

A transformative experience. An opportunity to share best practice across the sector and an opportunity to affect real change
Sharon Paterson, Assistant Dean Business Engagement and Partnerships, School of Arts and Media, Teesside University

Energising, supportive, enlightening. Excellent basis for expanding networks that are both supportive and challenging
Margaret Ross, Vice-Principal, Head of College, University of Aberdeen

Excellent programme that gave me a whole new way of innovative thinking and enactment
Andy Salmon, Acting Dean Faculty Arts Law and Social Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University

I completed the programme in 2014 and it changed the way I think about entrepreneurialism and university education. Well worth doing!
Professor Belinda Tynan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) and Vice-President, RMIT University, Australia

An opportunity to reflect, understand the wider sector context and challenge your current views and perceptions. It also helped develop a fantastic network of friends
Paul Welshman, Associate Director of Enterprise, University of Salford

Excellent learning opportunity. Run very professionally, responsively and considerately. Does what it says on the tin
Aidan Worsley, Executive Dean, University of Central Lancashire

Meetings for our Alumni Network

We recognise that creating change is not something that happens quickly and participants need continued support, encouragement and a fresh input of ideas. We see Entrepreneurial Leaders as the beginning of a process that extends beyond the three modules and includes opportunities to meet alumni, write about their experience of change and contribute to the development of the programme itself. You will build strong relationships leading to long lasting engagement between participants, tutors, policy makers, leading vice-chancellors and experts in the field of university education nationally and internationally. Following completion of the Entrepreneurial Leaders, participants continue to meet and actively support each other through meetings for the alumni network. The alumni network now consists of over one hundred and fifty senior members of the university community.

Great programme and network of individuals across the sector
Tim Davies, Director of Information Services, Aberystwyth University

The programme is a transformational experience and I have left with some super new connections at senior levels across the UK
Lynn Martin, Director of the Centre for Enterprise/Associate Dean, Manchester Metropolitan University

Excellent opportunity to build networks and meet policy formers and influencers
Neil Sammells, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Bath Spa University

Module partners are carefully chosen to showcase the development and delivery of embedding entrepreneurship within its culture and programmes, exposing participants to institutions with vision and strategy that encourage entrepreneurial mind sets and behaviours at the heart of the organisation.

Anglia Ruskin University
Coventry University
University of Hertfordshire
University of Huddersfield
University of Lincoln
University of Nottingham
University of Oxford
University of Strathclyde
Universities UK