Michael Rayner

Dean of Research content

Dean of Research

Michael Rayner

Professor Michael Rayner BD (hons - 1st class), ThM, PFHEA

Michael Rayner was appointed as the university’s first Dean of Research in August 2010. Michael is responsible for all aspects of the university’s Graduate School and the associated infrastructure to support research students and their supervisory teams. His role also provides broad-based guidance, support and leadership for the development and extension of research excellence and culture, which includes a range of training and development initiatives and also research ethics and quality assurance. 

Michael is a member of the institutional level environment panel for the UK-wide 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise. He led the university’s highly successful engagement with the UK-wide 2014 REF and is a recognised expert in the REF and the Research Assessment Exercise that preceded it.

Michael is an active researcher and is being included in the university’s submission to the education panel in the 2021 REF. His current main research interests cover researcher development and support, and research-teaching linkage. 

Michael is currently a member of the executive committee of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities and holds a number of other roles on committees and boards within and outwith the university.

Michael has held a number of senior roles in higher education, most recently at the University of Strathclyde, where he was Head of the university management committee office for a number of years, and also led the university’s engagement with the 2001 and 2008 Research Assessment Exercises. From 2008 to 2009, he was seconded to the Scottish Funding Council as Assistant Director of Research Policy and Strategy, with a particular focus on the council’s flagship ‘research pooling’ initiative. He has also worked at the University of Edinburgh. 

Michael was founding Chair of the influential Scottish REF managers’ group, involving all of Scotland’s universities and higher education institutions, on behalf of Universities Scotland. He has previously been involved in both national and international policy development roles, including representing Scottish (and broader UK) interests as part of the Bologna Process of European Higher Education reform (doctoral programmes project). He was former Chair of Universities Scotland's researcher development training committee and a long-standing member of the research and knowledge exchange committee.

Before entering higher education, Michael spent time as a marketing manager in the steel industry, a civil servant and as a church minister in the USA.

He holds degrees from the University of St Andrews and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Contact details

University of the Highlands and Islands
Executive Office
Ness Walk

Telephone: 01463 279244
Email: michael.rayner@uhi.ac.uk