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Directors appointed to lead work on Ageing Society grand challenge


Directors appointed to lead work on ageing society grand challenge

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has today (13 December) confirmed the appointment two challenge directors who will lead work on the Ageing Society challenges of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

The ISCF is a £1.7 billion investment in R&D that is delivered by UKRI to stimulate the UK’s world-leading research base and highly-innovative businesses to address the biggest industrial and societal challenges of today.

Healthy ageing challenge

George MacGinnis has been appointed challenge director, Healthy Ageing. He will lead a £98 million research and innovation programme that supports people as they age, and also their carers. The programme includes funding for research into behavioural science and design for an ageing population, collaborative research and development projects for early-stage innovations and large-scale trials to show how innovations can work in real life.

Mr MacGinnis has a background in leading health and care innovation programmes. He read engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge and was commissioned into the Royal Engineers, seeing service in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Bosnia before making a move into healthcare management. For much of the past decade he worked with a global industry alliance to enable a consumer-friendly market for digital wellness and health services. On the way he has been involved in some of the major programmes in this field, including the Whole System Demonstrators and Dallas. He holds master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge and King’s College London as well as an MBA from the Open University.

He said: “Healthy ageing is one of society’s grand challenges, something that will touch us all at some stage. People in the UK are already living longer than previous generations The UK has been a world leader in helping people live healthy, active and independent lives through technology. This is a real opportunity to build on this experience by widening the focus to ensure longevity is accompanied an increase in the years of healthy living.”

Medicines Manufacturing challenge

Dr Andy Jones has already taken up his role as challenge director, Medicines Manufacturing.

Dr Jones has more than 30 years’ experience of development and manufacturing in the Pharmaceutical industry.  He has held a number of senior positions during his career, and has been responsible for Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control (CMC) development of multibillion dollar products in the fields of Oncology, Neuroscience and Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disease. 

Latterly while leading Pharmaceutical Innovation and Manufacturing Science & Technology in AstraZeneca he has driven advances in Modelling & Simulation, Digital Therapeutics and Advanced Manufacturing technologies.

Andy has a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wales Institute of Science & Technology and joined the pharmaceutical industry following a period of postdoctoral research at the University of Colorado.

Speaking about his appointment, Dr Jones said:

“I am delighted to have been offered the opportunity to lead the Medicines Manufacturing Challenge.  Working together with Industry we have the chance to make a change that will benefit patients, drive economic growth and make the UK a global leader in medicines manufacture.”

The Medicines Manufacturing Challenge aims to dramatically enhance the pace of development, manufacture and delivery of novel medicines in the UK and increase the rate at which patients can access new medicines. It will equip the UK with greater capacity for manufacture of safe, economical and effective therapies.

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