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A renowned neuroscientist, Professor Tracey has led Merton College since 2019 and is also currently Professor of Anaesthetic Neuroscience in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, a department she led for several years whilst holding a Statutory Chair. She is also President-elect of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS).

Irene Tracey
© Ian Wallman -

Professor Tracey's research on the neuroscience of pain has contributed to a better understanding of pain perception and the representation of pain in the brain. She was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Medical Research by Her Majesty The Queen in 2022.

The Vice-Chancellor is Oxford University's senior officer, responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of the world's top-ranked university. Professor Tracey's nomination has been approved by the University's Council and is now subject to approval by Congregation, the University's sovereign body.

Following approval from Congregation, Professor Tracey will succeed the current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, in 2023.

Professor Belinda Lennox, Head of Department, said:


'On behalf of all of the Department of Psychiatry we'd like to congratulate Irene on this fantastic news. Irene is a huge inspiration to all of us in the neuroscience community. She is a brilliant scientist, an inspiring teacher and an effective leader. It is so exciting to have one of our own team take on this important leadership position and we look forward to working with her in the coming years.'

Professor Irene Tracey said of her nomination:


'I am honoured to be nominated as the University of Oxford's next Vice-Chancellor, and I wish to thank my colleagues for entrusting me to lead such a magnificent and world-leading academic institution.

'The last few years have reminded us all of the crucial role Oxford, along with other leading British universities, plays in tackling global societal issues. That is why I am deeply committed to growing Oxford's impact through supporting its groundbreaking discovery research, its excellence in teaching and its drive to create a global innovation powerhouse.'

The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Louise Richardson, said: 


'Irene's talents, collegiality and boundless energy will stand her in good stead. I wish her every success and I will do all I can to ensure a smooth transition.'

Read the full story on the central University of Oxford website.


Please follow the link below to read the news on the NIHR BRC website.