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Professor Sir Mark Walport named as first chief executive of UK Research and Innovation

Copyright: BEIS
News from: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
News from: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson, has announced that Professor Sir Mark Walport will be the Chief Executive Designate of UK Research and Innovation.

Read the full Government announcement here: Business Secretary announces industrial strategy investment in science, research and innovation.

UK Research and Innovation will, subject to legislation currently in Parliament, incorporate the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and the research funding and knowledge exchange parts of HEFCE. It is anticipated that UK Research and Innovation will be formed in April 2018.

BBSRC Chief Executive, Professor Melanie Welham said: “Sir Mark has a great deal of experience and interest in the biosciences given his previous roles, including 10 years as Director of the Wellcome Trust, and his work in promoting the coordination of Animal and Plant Health activities across the UK, culminating in publication of the UK Animal and Plant Health Strategy and establishment of the Animal and Plant Health Partnership.

BBSRC look forward to working with Sir Mark and our research community over the coming months as we move towards the setting up of UK Research and Innovation and establishing a leading role for bioscience within it.”

Professor Philip Nelson, Chair of Research Councils UK, said: “Mark is a fantastic choice as the first Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation. His career has taken him through active research, leadership of high profile organisations and into government. This experience and his knowledge of how the research and innovation base and policy making works is unrivalled. I am confident Mark will ensure UK Research and Innovation delivers on the potential of a more coordinated and strategic research and innovation system, with a stronger and clearer voice. Together with my colleagues across the Research Councils I look forward to working with him over the next year to establish UK Research and Innovation and set it on a successful course.”

Dr Ruth McKernan, Chief Executive of Innovate UK said: “The creation of UK Research and Innovation is an unprecedented opportunity to fuse together world leading UK science with cutting edge innovation from British businesses. To make sure the new organisation delivers on that opportunity it will require the sort of strong leadership and expert knowledge that Sir Mark will bring to the role.

“His substantial experience will set UK Research and Innovation up for success and the whole team at Innovate UK look forward to continuing to work closely with him to make sure that UK Research and Innovation is fully prepared to address the scientific, economic and social challenges of the future.”

Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE Chief Executive, said: “We look forward to working with Sir Mark over the coming months in the period of transition to the creation of UK Research and Innovation. The HEFCE Chief Executive, Directors and staff will work with the new Chief Executive to ensure a smooth and efficient process in developing the UK Research and Innovation and for transferring the relevant staff from HEFCE.

Sir Mark has tremendous experience of research in the public, charity and university sectors. He will bring this to bear on the creation and operation of this very important new public body which will deliver Government policy for science and innovation in the future.”



BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £473 million in world-class bioscience, people and research infrastructure in 2015-16. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
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Tags: people skills and training policy UK Research and Innovation BBSRC press release