Canadian prime minister: universities are key for economic growth

  • Economic prosperity is dependent on higher education institutions, says Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau
  • Investment in leadership and international partnerships can help the sector tackle key challenges
  • University of Sheffield leadership programme is inspiring organisations around the world

The prime minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has endorsed the University of Sheffield's work with international partners to develop higher education leaders who can inspire their institutions to be catalysts for economic growth.

Opening a higher education leadership forum in Ottawa, the Canadian prime minister highlighted the importance of post-secondary institutions and international partnerships.

"Knowledge is one of the main drivers of economic growth and we depend on post-secondary institutions for our future economic prosperity,” he explained. "We know we can achieve more together than we could ever achieve individually."

The University of Sheffield's Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West and Chief Operating Officer Andrew Dodman are speaking at the event, which is hosted by the universities of Sheffield and Carleton. They will explore how investment in leadership facilitates change and helps us tackle the challenges currently facing the higher education sector.

Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, welcomes delegates to the higher education leadership forum

A model for best practice

The University has a longstanding relationship with Carleton University. Inspired by our own work, Carleton has established its own leadership programme.

Mirroring the concept of a community of leaders, which is at the heart of the Sheffield leadership programme, the forum brings people together to learn from each other and to tackle change.

Sheffield leaders themselves will be brought in via video conference for a Q&A led by Dr Heather Davis from the University of Melbourne who will be discussing research and examples of leadership by and for all.

Resilient leadership can deliver change

With complexities and challenges currently facing the higher education sector, ranging from the rise of Asia Pacific competition to the need to demonstrate economic, social and cultural impact, Shearer will use her keynote speech in Ottawa to debate the traditional characteristics of academic culture that can sometimes conflict with a 21st-century university.

She will also assert the value and influence of resilient leadership in higher education – leaders who can communicate powerfully, build positive and trusting relationships, develop others, champion change, and who are decisive, coachable and bold risk takers.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Kirsty Bowen
Media Relations Officer
0114 222 1034