He will succeed Professor Robert Allison, who will step down from the post at the end of this academic year after nine years in the role.
Professor Jennings will be Loughborough’s ninth Vice-Chancellor and will take up the post in the autumn.
Professor Jennings is currently the Vice-Provost for Research and Enterprise and Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Imperial College London. Previously he was the UK's first Regius Professor of Computer Science (a post bestowed by the monarch to recognise exceptionally high-quality research) at the University of Southampton.
Professor Jennings was the UK Government’s first Chief Scientific Advisor for National Security and was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the Queen’s New Year Honours List in 2016 for his services to computer science and national security science. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2005.
An internationally renowned researcher, Professor Jennings’ research focuses on developing AI systems for large-scale, open and dynamic environments. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the BCS Lovelace Medal in 2020, the ACM Autonomous Agents Research Award in 2003 and the Computer and Thought Award in 1999 for contributions to multi-agent systems.
Speaking about his appointment at Loughborough University, Professor Jennings said: “Loughborough is a distinctive and world-class university. It offers excellent courses and an outstanding student experience. It clearly has a positive organisational culture, engaged students, and proud staff. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park campus offers many exciting opportunities to do new things and to do things differently to the rest of the sector.
“Under the impressive leadership of Professor Allison, there have been many achievements and very strong foundations and I look forward to developing these and other significant opportunities to make a real difference to our future.
“I am keen to build on Loughborough’s research base and raise the visibility of our important work. I also commit to champion and collaboratively advance the University’s crucial equality, diversity and inclusion priorities.
“As the first member of my family to go to university, I know the importance and life-changing impact of a high-quality university education and its effect on social mobility. As a lifelong sports fan, I recognise that Loughborough offers an experience no other University can.”
Christine Hodgson CBE, who is Chair of Loughborough University Council and Senior Pro-Chancellor, said: “We are thrilled Professor Jennings will be joining us; his personal research success, impressive leadership experience, his understanding of the opportunities and challenges in the sector and his love of sport will ensure Loughborough continues to move forward. He clearly has an excitement and passion for what Loughborough does, and what he can offer us as he takes on this hugely important role. I look forward to working with him when he takes up his role.”