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Ronald Tress Memorial Lecture

Established in 2012, the Ronald Tress Memorial Lecture is an annual event honouring Ronald Tress (1915-2006), the Master of Birkbeck from 1968 to 1977 and a hugely influential economist.

From 1941 to 1945, Tress was Economic Adviser to the British War Cabinet and he played a vital role in the development of the post-war Marshall Plan for Western European economic recovery. He was also Professor of Political Economy at the University of Bristol. In 1978 he was appointed Director of the Leverhulme Trust.

Tress established the Economics Department at Birkbeck and our scholarly community honours his legacy and contribution to the world of economics by inviting a leading figure in the field to speak on the pressing issues affecting society today.


Paul Johnson, Institute for Fiscal Studies: ‘Johnson on Johnson’

Wednesday 5 May, 6pm

We are delighted to welcome Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, to deliver the 2021 Ronald Tress Memorial Lecture to staff, students, alumni and friends of Birkbeck’s Department of Economics, Mathematics and Statistics.

In this online lecture entitled ‘Johnson on Johnson’, Paul will explore the economic challenges facing Boris Johnson’s government and some of the policy options available.

Lecture Itinerary

6:00pm: Welcome address – Dr Geoff Walters, Executive Dean

6.15pm: Introduction to speaker – Professor Stephen Wright

6.20pm: Ronald Tress Memorial Lecture – Paul Johnson

7.00pm: Q&A – led by Dr Ken Hori

7.15pm: Closing remarks and vote of thanks – Dr Ken Hori


Paul has been Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies since January 2011. He is a columnist for The Times and in March 2021 joined the new Times Education Commission, which brings together experts on education with a view to informing government policy. He is currently a member of the UK Climate Change Committee, and of the Banking Standards Board.

Previous roles have included time as Chief Economist at the Department for Education and as Director of Public Spending at HM Treasury, where he also served as deputy head of the Government Economic Service.

Paul was appointed CBE in the 2018 birthday honours. He was a member of the winning Keble Oxford team in the 2017/18 Christmas University Challenge series.

Previous Lectures