University of Glasgow Principal Anton Muscatelli recognised in annual Wonkhe Power List

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Glasgow University Quad

Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Mike Peel

Zara Ali
Writer

Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, has ranked sixth on this year’s Wonkhe list of the most powerful people in higher education.

Wonkhe is a think tank for higher education policy, people, and politics. Its annual Higher Education Power List is made up of the top 50 individuals with the most influence over UK universities and those that will be instrumental in shaping their future. The majority, this year, are government policy makers and sector representatives, but also included are lobbyists, politicians, vice-chancellors, and influential thinkers.

Muscatelli, also Chair of the Russell Group of Universities, jumped 15 places in this year’s Power List, making him the second highest placed Vice-Chancellor.

A graduate of the University of Glasgow with an MA in Political Economy and a PhD in Economics, his research interests include monetary economics, fiscal policy, central bank independence, macroeconomics and international finance. He was once a special adviser on monetary policy to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee and has acted as a consultant to the European Commission and the World Bank.

His place on the list is largely attributed to the influence he holds in Scotland as Principal of the University of Glasgow and as Chair of the Scottish government’s advisory group on Brexit, as well as the influence he wields in Westminster as head lobbyist for the nationwide Russell Group since he took over the role of Chair.

These roles allow him to navigate the balance of power between the University of Glasgow and the Scottish government.

As the Power List puts it: “Muscatelli is a vital go-between the government and Scottish universities when the line between ministerial wishes and institutional autonomy become blurry.”

The extraordinary shift from the politician-heavy list of the previous year to a list of mostly policymakers and sector representatives was noted by Wonkhe themselves.

Mark Leach, the founder and editor of Wonkhe, stated: “In this third edition, the annual Wonkhe Power List reflects the failure of politicians to provide answers to the policy questions that really matter to universities. Politicians are starting to shape their policies around mistaken beliefs about how universities are run and how our higher education sector is organised. However, the wonks are fighting back – it’s been comforting to see politicians lose some influence at the expense of those better placed to know what’s really going on, and the ranking reflects this.”