Britain’s former Chancellor George Osborne is to become an honorary professor of economics at the University of Manchester, racking up his sixth job since leaving Theresa May’s Cabinet last year. Osborne, 46, who stepped down from the UK Parliament at this month’s election, is now editor of the Evening Standard newspaper, an adviser to investment management firm BlackRock, chairman of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, a fellow at US think-tank the McCain Institute, and makes lucrative after-dinner speeches around the world for the Washington Speakers Bureau. His latest job at the university, due to start in July, is likely to involve not more than a few lectures and visits a year. It will allow him to continue his work on the Northern Powerhouse initiative, which he launched at the Treasury to develop economic growth and connectivity in the cities of the north of England.
The university said he would be “sharing his knowledge with staff and students by giving lectures, master-classes and conducting informal visits”, and is interested in continuing to support cutting-edge work into the ultra-thin substance graphene, which won a Nobel Prize in physics for Manchester scientists. According to Press Association, as chancellor, Osborne was supportive of the university’s National Graphene Institute and Henry Royce Institute as centres of scientific excellence which could be translated into economic growth.
“I am bowled over by this honour. The University of Manchester was at the centre of so many things I tried to achieve as chancellor, from the promotion of new science to the building of the links between this country and countries like China,” Osborne said. It is also one of the jewels in the crown of the Northern Powerhouse. “I remain completely committed to that idea that together the different communities in the North can work together so that the whole is greater than the parts – and I believe more strongly than I ever did that the entire country, including our capital, would benefit from a stronger North,” he said.
“That’s why I remain closely involved as chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and look forward to playing a part in the life of the University of Manchester,” Osborne said. A fellow architect of the Northern Powerhouse, former Treasury minister Lord O’Neill, is also an honorary professor at Manchester, and the university’s president and vice- chancellor, Dame Nancy Rothwell, is on the board of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.
“George’s decision to accept our offer of an honorary professorship is very exciting news for the university. He has been a leader at the top level of the UK and the world economic policy for many years and showed the vision to recognise the enormous economic and scientific potential of graphene to the UK,” Rothwell said. “Our students and staff will benefit from all of this experience and he will be invaluable in helping the university to support the growth of our city and region,” she said.