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New Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund directors appointed


UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has today announced the appointment of a further two Challenge Directors who will lead work on the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

Dr Andy Jones has been appointed as Challenge Director for Medicines Manufacturing, while Professor Andrew Chitty has been appointed as Challenge Director for Audience of the Future, following a successful period as interim challenge director.

They will lead two of the challenges which form part of the ISCF, 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.

Medicines Manufacturing challenge

Dr Jones, who has more than 30 years’ experience in development and manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry, will take up his position in October.

The challenge seeks to dramatically enhance the pace of development, manufacture and delivery of novel medicines in the UK and thus to increase the rate at which patients can access new medicines.

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 and metabolic disease. 

Latterly while leading Pharmaceutical Innovation and Manufacturing Science and Technology in AstraZeneca he has driven advances in modelling and simulation, digital therapeutics and advanced manufacturing technologies.

Dr Jones has a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology and joined the pharmaceutical industry following a period of postdoctoral research at the University of Colorado.

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.”

Audience of the Future challenge

Professor Chitty, Royal Holloway, University of London, Professor of Creative and Digital Economy has been appointed to the substantive position of Challenge Director for Audience of the Future.  

The challenge aims to bring the UK’s creative businesses, researchers and technologists together so that we can create the next generation of highly-immersive, striking experiences.

This fund will develop, demonstrate and support the adoption of new products and services that will capture the public’s imagination and strengthen the UK’s position as a world-leader in creative content. The investment is up to £33 million.

He continues to lead the challenge providing funding of up to £33 million to bring creative businesses, researchers and technology experts together to create striking new experiences that captivate the public using new immersive technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality. The Challenge includes a demonstrator programme, collaborative research and development funding, and a new industry centre of excellence.

Professor Chitty, a BAFTA winner, has worked as a producer of science and technology television programmes and has served as Vice Chair of the producers’ trade association, Pact, and as a non-executive director of OFCOM, Creative England and Creative Skillset.

He is also Creative Economy Champion for the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and on the board of their Creative Industries Clusters Programme.

Professor Chitty said: “The UK’s creative industries are one of our great global success stories and we have the potential to lead the world in the new experiences, audiences and markets opened up by fast-developing immersive technologies. 

“I’m excited to be able to able to play a role at UKRI to help pioneering businesses grow and shape the creative economy of the future.”

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “I look forward to working with the new Challenge Directors. Their experience across academia and industry will help us build on the UK’s strengths to drive the Medicines Manufacturing and Audience of the Future challenges.”

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