The Council of the University of Cambridge is its principal executive and policy making body, having responsibility for the administration of the university, for the planning of its work, and for the management of its resources.[1] Since the Regent House is the governing body of the university, however, the Council must report and be accountable to the Regents through a variety of checks and balances. It has the right of reporting to the university, and is obliged to advise the Regent House on matters of general concern to the university. It does both of these by causing notices to be published by authority in the Cambridge University Reporter, the official journal of the university.

The university is an exempt charity under as per the Charities Act 2011, regulated by the Office for Students. Under charity law the trustees are the members of the University Council.[2]


Membership of the Council consists of the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of the university (the office of Chancellor, which is held for life, is mainly ceremonial, while the Vice-Chancellor is de facto the principal academic and administrative officer), nineteen elected members, and four appointed members, divided into classes as follows:[3]

  1. Four Heads of Colleges,
  2. Four Professors or Readers
  3. Eight from the other members of the Regent House
  4. Three students: ex-officio the undergraduate and post-graduate presidents of the Cambridge Students' Union as well as an independently elected current student
  5. Four external members

Current constitution

Position Name Term Ending
Chancellor* Lord Sainsbury of Turville, K LIFE
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Stephen Toope OC, CLH 30 September 2024
Heads of Colleges
President of Lucy Cavendish College Prof. Madeleine Atkins, LC 31 December 2020
President of Hughes Hall Dr. Anthony Freeling, HH 31 December 2024
Master of Corpus Christi Prof. Christopher Kelly, CC 31 December 2022
Master of Gonville and Caius Prof. Pippa Rogerson, CAI 31 December 2022
Professors or Readers
Professor of Cardiovascular Pharmacology Prof. Anthony Davenport, CTH 31 December 2024
Professor of Portuguese Literature and Culture Prof. Maria Manuel Lisboa, JN 31 December 2024
Professor of Photonics Prof. Richard Penty, SID 31 December 2022
Professor in Modern Literature and Culture Prof. Jason Scott-Warren, CAI 31 December 2012
Other members of Regent House
Dr Zoe Adams 31 December 2024
Dr Ruth Lisa Chadwick Charles, N 31 December 2022
Dr Nicholas John Holmes, T 31 December 2022
Dr Ann Kaminski 31 December 2024
Dr Philip Knox 31 December 2022
Dr Andrew Sanchez 31 December 2022
Dr Mike Sewell, SEL 31 December 2024
Dr Pieter van Houten, CHU 31 December 2024
Three student members [3]
CSU Undergraduate President Zaynab Ahmed, N 30 June 2023
CSU Postgraduate President Amelia Jabry, LC 30 June 2023
Student University Councilor Cllr Sam Carling. CHR 30 June 2023
Four external members
Ms Gaenor Bagley 31 December 2024
Ms Sharon Flood 31 December 2022
Prof. Sir David Greenaway 31 December 2024
Mr Mark Lewisohn, CHR 31 December 2022

* The Chancellor does not normally attend meetings

† Professor Richard Penty is also the current Master of Sidney Sussex

‡ Mark Lewisohn also acts as the Deputy Chair of Council

External Members

From January 2005, the membership of the Council included two external members.[4] The Regent House voted for an increase from two to four in the number of external members in March 2008,[5][6] and this was approved by Her Majesty the Queen in July 2008.[7]


The Council normally holds meetings once per month, except for August, in the Council Room in The Old Schools. During the COVID-19 pandemic meetings have been held via Zoom.[8]


  1. ^ Statute A, IV: Statutes and Ordinances of the University of Cambridge
  2. ^ "The University as a charity". University of Cambridge. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Council membership".
  4. ^ Reporter 15/12/04: Annual Report of the Council for 2003-04
  5. ^ Grace 2 of 5 December 2008
  6. ^ Acta in the Reporter, No 6107, publishing Results of Ballot
  7. ^ Reporter 23/07/08, Statutes approved: Notice
  8. ^ "Meeting dates of the Council and Business Committee". Retrieved 4 January 2022.

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