RAU Director appointed to lead GuildHE’s International Network

28 July 2023

Dr Esther Wilkinson, who joined the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) as Associate Director of Business Development earlier this year, has been appointed as Chair of GuildHE’s International Network.

Esther joined the RAU in March after nine years as Head of International at Jisc, the UK agency for digital, data, and technology, where she led international activities and relationships, and developed an international strategy.

Having studied chemistry at Imperial College London, where she also completed her PhD, she has worked in various roles in higher education including Assistant Director at Universities UK International, the UK Research Councils (UKRI), the Open University, as well as a brief spell, early in her career, as a police officer.

She said: “Being appointed as Chair of GuildHE’s International Network is a huge opportunity for us all to bring together our specialist providers to work across the sector and ensure all international students who come to the UK to study are well looked after and that our international endeavours are of the highest quality.

“The International Network provides members with updates relating to international issues but, importantly for the RAU, it’s much more about being part of the global landscape and being able to influence and inform from our perspective as a specialist university alongside our peers.”

The RAU’s Business Development is a new team responsible for Research and Partnerships at the Cirencester-based University and is key to the delivery of the RAU Strategy 2023-2028 with its three strategic goals of Quality, Reach and Sustainability.

The team critically seeks to grow capacity and expertise across the RAU’s international, research, and knowledge exchange activities as well as bringing together existing teams involved in business innovation and growth, and professional training, and supporting the University’s laboratories and their development.

Esther added: “I am thrilled to be working at the RAU at a time when land use, food security, and sustainable agriculture are so critical and fundamental to address global challenges, underpinned by rural innovation and entrepreneurship. Our GuildHE specialist networks will address challenges that are similar and synergistic to those being faced by our wider peers, but champion and represent our distinctive and diverse sector.”