Professor Michael Rayner

Dean of Research and Knowledge Exchange content

Dean of Research and Knowledge Exchange


Michael joined UHI in August 2010 as its first Dean of Research and is currently Dean of Research and Knowledge Exchange. He is responsible for all aspects of the university’s Graduate School and the activities of the Knowledge Exchange Team. His role provides broad-based guidance, support and leadership for the development and extension of research excellence and culture, together with research ethics and quality assurance.  He chairs the Research Degrees Committee, the Professoriate Forum, and supports the Academic Titles Review Board.

Michael is a member of the Institutional Level Environment Panel for the UK-wide 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise. He led the university’s highly successful engagement with the 2014 REF and is a recognised expert in UK Research Assessment.

Michael is an active researcher and was included in the university’s submission to the education panel in the 2021 REF. His current main research interests cover researcher development and support, and research-teaching linkage.

Michael has held a number of senior roles in higher education, including 11 years at the University of Strathclyde as Head of the University Management Committee Office. He was also seconded to the Scottish Funding Council as Assistant Director of Research Policy and Strategy, with a particular focus on the council’s flagship ‘research pooling’ initiative. He has also worked at the University of Edinburgh.

Michael was founding Chair of the influential Scottish REF Managers’ Group and has previously been involved in national and international policy development roles, including representing Scottish (and broader UK) interests as part of the Bologna Process of European Higher Education reform (doctoral programmes project).

Before entering higher education, Michael spent time as a marketing manager in the steel industry, a civil servant and as a church minister in the USA.

Michael holds degrees from the University of St Andrews and Princeton Theological Seminary.