New BBSRC Executive Chair appointed

The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, has appointed Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith as the new BBSRC Executive Chair.

Professor Ferguson-Smith is a highly respected developmental geneticist and epigeneticist specialising in mammalian functional genomics and epigenetics.

Her current research applies experimental, computational and bioinformatics approaches to contemporary questions in mammalian functional genomics and epigenetics with particular relevance for how genetic and environmental influences affect development and health.

Services to biological research

Currently, she is Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and International Partnerships, and Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics, at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Ferguson-Smith was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) this year for services to medical research.

Science and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan, said:

Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith’s appointment is great news for UK bioscience, which is delivering transformative discoveries that will benefit our country and beyond – from creating new life-saving vaccines to developing sustainable food production.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is a key funder and driving force of this world-leading sector and Professor Ferguson-Smith’s experience will be a major asset in building on that work to support a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future.

Inspiring leadership

Professor Ferguson-Smith is an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

She has also been a valued member of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Council since 2021.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said:

I am delighted by the appointment of Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith as BBSRC’s new Executive Chair.

Professor Ferguson-Smith is an inspiring leader who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role.

I am deeply grateful to Professor Guy Poppy for his excellent service as BBSRC’s interim Executive Chair.

His leadership of BBSRC and on the UKRI Executive Committee has been greatly appreciated.

Driving end-to-end impactive research

Professor Ferguson-Smith said:

It’s a privilege to be chosen for such an important role, and to be able to champion BBSRC’s research strategy in alignment with national and global challenges.

I’ve been supported by, and worked within, the BBSRC ecosystem for a number of years now in a range of contexts, so I’m delighted I will be leading a connected and effective community with such a strong legacy created by the previous Executive Chair.

I’m looking forward to working within UKRI to support talent development and end-to-end impactful research, from discovery to application.

I will be connecting with ministers and other partners to drive an ambitious national agenda in research and innovation.

Taking up post in July 2024

Professor Ferguson-Smith will take up post as BBSRC’s Executive Chair on 1 July 2024.

The post of BBSRC Executive Chair is subject to pre-appointment scrutiny by the House of Commons Science, Innovation and Technology Select Committee.

The committee has reviewed details provided by Professor Ferguson-Smith and decided they do not require a pre-appointment hearing for this appointment.

Top image:  Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith. Credit: University of Cambridge

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.