MRC executive chair conflicts of interest

Professor John Iredale took up the position of interim Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC) on 10 January 2022. Professor Iredale’s appointment was confirmed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

He also continues in his other employments:

  • Professor of Medical Science, University of Bristol (paid)
  • Non-Executive Director, North Bristol NHS Trust (paid).

In addition, Professor Iredale has the following unremunerated roles:

  • Trustee of the British Heart Foundation
  • Trustee of the Foundation for Liver Research
  • Chair of the Board of Directors, Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, Glasgow
  • Chair elect of Lister Foundation.

Professor Iredale and the MRC are committed to managing all real, potential or apparent conflicts of interest with integrity, impartiality, honesty and openness. While his dual roles with various other organisations and the MRC are in many ways an asset, robust policies and procedures are in place to manage potential conflicts.

In his capacity as MRC interim Executive Chair, Professor Iredale will serve as the MRC representative on the Board of Trustees of the Francis Crick Institute.

Measures in place include:

  • Professor Iredale will absent himself from all MRC and, as we are part of UKRI, any other UKRI discussions and meetings that relate to funding decision-making involving the University of Bristol, the North Bristol NHS Trust and the Beatson Institute. He will not be able to have access to papers and minutes relevant to these items
  • All prospective decisions specifically concerning the University of Bristol, the North Bristol NHS Trust and the Beatson Institute, which would normally involve the Executive Chair, will be referred in the first instance and at the earliest opportunity to the Senior Independent Member on the MRC Council, who will decide in consultation with MRC Management Board members, as appropriate; or, if necessary, with the UKRI CEO.
  • Where discussions/decisions concern the university sector or scientific strategy broadly, Professor Iredale will discuss with the Senior Independent Member on the MRC Council and/or Management Board members, as appropriate, the extent to which the University of Bristol conflict is material and how closely he should be involved, on a case-by-case basis.
  • With respect to his roles with the the Francis Crick Institute, British Heart Foundation, Foundation for Liver Research and Lister Foundation, if any conflicts arise (on either side), these will be managed, for example by Professor Iredale declaring his interest and not taking part in discussions and decisions, including possibly by leaving the room.
  • Minutes of meetings will clearly record where Professor Iredale had a potential conflict and the action taken.

Last updated: 31 March 2022

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