Professor Michael Rayner

Michael RaynerOrganisation

University of the Highlands and Islands

Job Title

Dean of Research


Michael Rayner is Dean of Research at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). He provides broad-based leadership, guidance and support for the development and extension of research excellence and culture. He was responsible for all aspects of planning and delivery of the university's highly successful engagement with the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). In addition, Michael is responsible for the UHI Graduate School and the associated infrastructure to support the university's research students and their supervisory teams. This role extends to the provision of support for development of early career researchers. Michael has previously held senior positions in the University of Strathclyde and the Scottish Funding Council (a seconded post as Assistant Director of Research Policy and Strategy), and he started his HE career in the Faculty Group of Law and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. He has been involved in most aspects of university governance, policy, strategy and management for over 20 years, and is an active researcher. Prior to this, Michael has had what might be described as an eclectic career, which has seen him hold various positions in the steel industry, the UK Civil Service, in farming, retail, and also as an Assistant Minister in the USA.
Michael was founding Chair of the Scottish-based REF Managers group, involving all of Scotland's universities and higher education Institutions, on behalf of Universities Scotland, and has previously been involved in both 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). He is currently Chair of Universities Scotland's Research Training sub-Committee, and was recognised as Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) in 2016.
He holds degrees from the University of St Andrews and Princeton Theological Seminary.