A very Happy New Year to all staff. I hope you have enjoyed a restful break and that 2013 will bring fulfilment and success.

Success comes frequently to Cambridge: in 2012 the award of a Nobel Prize to a Cambridge researcher, Sir John Gurdon, crowned a year which included Olympic medals for our alumni (and a current student), the Stirling Prize for the Sainsbury Laboratory, and the opening of a brilliant new building for the social sciences and humanities. Success does indeed come frequently, but I know that it does not come 'easily' - it comes because of your hard work and thoughtful endeavours.

2013 will surely bring us the opportunity of more success. Early in the year, the Regent House will vote on the North West Cambridge project, which I described in my annual address. The project is a sign of the University's ambition and of the long-term thinking that is necessary to maintain our quality in future decades.


Although the national and international economic situation remains uncertain, we have steered a prudent course through the worst effects of the recession and our own finances remain sound. There are still headwinds to come and our spending plans will need to remain cautious, but we are confident in our financial future and this is shared by the credit ratings agencies: in the context of our eye-catching issue of a 40-year financial bond last October, the University was given the highest possible rating.


Last October saw us admit the largest proportion of state school pupils for
30 years - and, it goes without saying, with no compromise on the academic quality for which Cambridge is renowned. It is important to me that we deliver on our commitment to admit the best and brightest from all backgrounds, and I was delighted by this achievement.

Colleagues involved in admissions, for the Colleges and the University, have been working hard over Christmas and the New Year to interview, assess and process this year's undergraduate applicants, and offer letters are now going out, based on each applicant's academic track record and an assessment of their potential - not on their social skills, family connections or ability to pay. Bright pupils in every school in the country increasingly know that, if they have the talent and high ambition, they should give Cambridge a try.


We know that if they come here they will participate in an education that is second to none. Over the past year we have been providing evidence of the strength of our teaching to the national Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, in advance of the Institutional Audit of our education provision in 2013. The audit will cover a very broad territory across the institution. Many thanks to the staff across the University who are helping in this exercise - and thanks more widely to all those who keep our education provision world-class.

Research and Innovation

Just as the quality of our education provision will be measured in 2013, so will our research quality, in the intensive exercise that is the Research Excellence Framework. Sincere thanks to all the academic staff who have provided Impact Case Studies - these will be vital in preparing the University's case over the coming months. By 30 June 2013, we aim to have a complete draft submission, which will, I know, demonstrate Cambridge's transformative contribution.

The excellence and diversity of our research across all disciplines, and our intensive engagement with the Cambridge city and region, mean that in addition to our achievements in fundamental research, we continue to make significant contributions to innovation and to help drive the growth that is so vital to the UK and to society.


Since our mission is to serve society, we have a responsibility to explain what we do: in admissions, in education and in research. Internal communications within the collegiate University are equally important, and I will be paying particular attention to this in 2013. The Web is of course integral to both internal and external communications, and early this term the main University website will be redesigned, to be more attractive and more accessible to all users. The new design will adapt to suit the device on which it is being viewed - whether desktop, smartphone or tablet computer. The new website will also incorporate a new online newsletter for staff, so that you will all be able to access information about the challenges and priorities the year will bring, and offer your views and comments.

Thank you for everything you do to contribute towards the continuing success of this extraordinary institution. I look forward to meeting even more of you in the coming year, and I wish you a very happy 2013.

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

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