Photo of Professor Stephen Wilks

Professor Stephen Wilks


Current post: Professor of Politics

Exeter is a great place to be. I came in 1990 and have seen substantial changes in the University and in the Department. Here I'll talk about my role at Exeter before going on to national areas, international linkages and to research which is covered in a separate section. This is highlights. For the detail an academic CV is available and anyone interested could access my entry in Who's Who.

I've had periods as Head of the Department of Politics (1992-95 and 2003-04), the second round of which was rather easier since Politics joined the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HuSS). More recently we have become a component of a curious combination of discipliners in the College of Social sciences and International Studies.

After holding an ESRC personal research fellowship in 1995-96 I went on to become a Deputy Vice Chancellor (for research) from 1999 to 2002 and steered Exeter through the RAE cycle. We did very well on the basis of extraordinarily hard work from the top downwards. As someone apparently unable to learn from past experience I did a second round as Deputy Vice Chancellor for research in 2004-05 with the new Registrar and, delightfully, a new Vice Chancellor, Steve Smith, a name well known to most students of Politics. From 2005 I returned to become a 'jobbing' professor of politics with teaching at the undergraduate, masters and doctoral levels.

Nationally I took on in 2001 two Ministerial appointments to fascinating bodies. I was appointed to the ESRC, Economic and Social Research Council, where I was Chair of the Research Priorities Board - now renamed as the Strategy Board. That was hugely interesting and rather satisfying. The funding of good social science research and seeing the work come through is wonderfully creative. I was renewed for a further year on the ESRC (2004-05). I was also appointed to the Competition Commission, an agency very much at the heart of my research interests and again an absolutely fascinating organisation. The ability to work with a top class team on matters that are intrinsically fascinating and of national importance is a privilege which I greatly value. My membership of the Commission was renewed in 2005 for a further four years and I joined the Remedies Standing Group which monitors and adapts the remedies packages negotiated through the various CC investigations. I served on ten merger inquitries including the fascinating BSkyB/ITV. This engagement with competition policy has continued with a far more legal flavour as a Member of the Competition Appeal Tribunal from 2011.

Internationally I continue to work with long standing collaborators including Bruce Doern (Carleton, Ottawa and Exeter) and Roland Sturm (Erlangen, Nuremberg). I retain international links with Japan and especially with Michio Muramatsu. My long standing interest in Korea and Korean social science took something of a back seat during the DVC years but I have renewed contacts with Korean academics, especialky Professor Jung Yongduck at Seoul national and with former students. We are immensely fortunate to have had cohorts of excellent Korean officials as students on our MPA for nearly 20 years as well as many outstanding doctoral students.