Nishan Canagarajah

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Nishan Canagarajah
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester
Assumed office
November 2019
Preceded byPaul Boyle
Personal details
Cedric Nishan Canagarajah

1966 (age 57–58)
Sri Lanka
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Salary£254,000 (2021–22)[1]

Cedric Nishan Canagarajah (born 1966) is a British Tamil academic and the current president and vice-chancellor of the University of Leicester.[2] He was previously one of the pro-vice-chancellors of the University of Bristol.[3]

Early life and family[edit]

Canagarajah was born in 1966 in Sri Lanka.[4][5] His mother was a teacher.[6] He was educated at St. John's College, Jaffna.[7] After school he joined the University of Cambridge from where he received a BA honours degree in electronics and information sciences in 1989 and a Ph.D. in digital signal processing in 1993.[4][5][8]

Canagarajah is married to Thabitha.[6] They have a daughter and two sons.[6]


Canagarajah joined the University of Bristol in 1993 as a research assistant.[4][5] He was promoted to lecturer in 1994, senior lecturer in 1999 and reader in 2001.[5] He became professor of multimedia signal processing in 2004.[4][5] He was promoted to research director at the university's Faculty of Engineering in 2006 and head of Department of Computer Science in 2009.[4] He became head of Merchant Venturers School of Engineering in 2010 before becoming dean of the Faculty of Engineering in 2011.[4] He was appointed pro-vice-chancellor for research and enterprise in August 2014.[4] In August 2019 it was announced that he would become president and vice-chancellor of the University of Leicester in November 2019.[9][10]

Canagarajah's research contributions in image segmentation and texture classification are internationally recognized and his research on audio signal processing led to an interactive exhibit, Virtual Drum, at the London Science Museum.[11] He has led a number of successful international research partnerships and is currently theme leader for the joint £5M EPSRC/DST collaborative programme on next generation telecommunications systems and services, which includes a number of UK and Indian universities and industrial partners.[12]

Canagarajah has served on a number of national and international panels on research funding, governance and postgraduate education. He acted as a technical consultant for several industrial partners including Sony, BT, BBC, Orange, Thales, Toshiba and the Metropolitan Police Service.[13][14][15] He is part of the Universities UK advisory group to tackle racial harassment in higher education.[16]

In January 2021, members of the Leicester University and College Union voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion of no confidence against Canagarajah, in response to a proposed mass lay-off of faculty members.[17] In March 2021, students at Leicester also approved a vote of no confidence against Canagarajah, with 1010 votes for the proposal and only 82 opposed.[18]


  1. ^ "Annual report and accounts 2021-22". University of Leicester. Retrieved 19 January 2023.
  2. ^ "Senior staff". University of Leicester.
  3. ^ "Senior staff". University of Bristol.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nishan Canagarajah". University of Bristol.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Professor Nishan Canagarajah". Faculty of Engineering, University of Bristol.
  6. ^ a b c "Speaking Personally" (PDF). LynchPin: 19. Spring 2009.
  7. ^ "Professor Nishan Canagarajah's Appointment as Pro-Vice Chancellor of Bristol University". Tha Lifestyle. 1 (3): 1. March 2014.
  8. ^ "University of Bristol appoints new Pro Vice-Chancellor". University of Bristol. 11 March 2014.
  9. ^ "New Vice-Chancellor named". Leicester, U.K.: University of Leicester. 19 August 2019. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  10. ^ Martin, Dan (20 August 2019). "University of Leicester appoints Nishan Canagarajah as new vice-chancellor". Leicester Mercury. Leicester, U.K. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  11. ^ "Professor Nishan Canagarajah - University of Bristol". Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  12. ^ "UK-India research collaboration deepens - EPSRC website". Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  13. ^ "President and Vice-Chancellor | About | University of Leicester". Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Digital institute gets £29m boost". BBC News. 10 July 2019. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Thales and Bristol University sign strategic agreement to collaborate in research and education activities". Thales Group. Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  16. ^ "University of Leicester experts appointed to prestigious panel on harassment". Retrieved 10 February 2020.
  17. ^ Martin, Dan (26 January 2021). "UCU members 'overwhelmingly' back no-confidence motion in Leicester University vice-chancellor". Leicester Mercury. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  18. ^ "Leicester students pass vote of no confidence in Vice-Chancellor". 22 March 2021.

External links[edit]