After lecturing at Makerere University, Kampala from 1971-3 and Sheffield City Polytechnic from 1973–80, he joined what is now the University of Plymouth in 1981 as a lecturer in Analytical Chemistry. In 1989 he was promoted to Head of Department of Environmental Sciences and eventually rose to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Development).
Ebdon's research interests are in environmental analytical chemistry and his various contributions to our understanding of the behaviour and importance of trace elements in the environment have led to over 250 publications and to several awards.
Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive
Ebdon was appointed Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Luton in September 2003. With the merger of the University and the Bedford campus of De Montfort University in August 2006 he became the Vice Chancellor of the new University of Bedfordshire. He was succeeded by Bill Rammell as Vice Chancellor on 1 September 2012, completing his move to the position of Director of the Office of Fair Access.
Director of OFFA
On 20 February 2012 Ebdon was appointed as the Director of the Office of Fair Access, the university fair access regulator, despite media criticism and his selection being rejected by the Commons Select Committee tasked with reviewing the recommendation.
million+ think tank
In August 2009 Ebdon, via the think tank 'million+', made the controversial suggestion that universities broaden the social mix of their students by allowing grade boost to poorer students in a bid to increase social mobility.
Ebdon is a member of the DTI's Measurement Advisory committee and Chair of a Sub Committee, and he is also a member of the European Union DGXII Certification Working Group, known particularly for his expertise on environmental certified reference materials.
Ebdon is a member of the Advisory Board of the Central Science Laboratory of DEFRA. He is currently Chair of Chemistry World Editorial Board and a Member of the Publications Board of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Ebdon is a member of the Structure and Bonding College of the EPSRC and has chaired various EPRC committees and served on many Royal Society of Chemistry, National Environmental Research Committees, Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and DTI Review Groups.
In 1995 the American Microchemical Society awarded him the Benedetti-Pichler medal for outstanding contributions to microchemistry.
In 1986 Ebdon was the Royal Society of Chemistry, Analytical division, School's Lecturer and later in that same year was awarded the 13th SAC Silver Medal by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
- "New Vice Chancellor starts at Bedfordshire". University of Bedfordshire. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
- "Ebdon confirmed as university access chief". BBC News. 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- "There’s no place for dreaming spires in Professor Les Ebdon’s world". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Ltd. 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- "Vince Cable in stand off with MPs over Offa boss". BBC News. 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- "Poorer student grade plan backed". BBC News. 2009-08-09. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- "Prof Les Ebdon, CBE". Debrett's Ltd. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- "Past Recipients of the A.A. Benedetti-Pichler Award". American Microchemical Society. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- "SAC Silver Medal". Royal Society of Chemistry. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
- Profile at the University of Bedfordshire
- Profile at million+
- Profile at Debrett's
- Professor Ebdon's Curriculum Vitae