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Two new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund directors appointed

Two new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund directors appointed

Two new directors have been appointed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to lead challenges announced as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).

Sam Stacey has been appointed as the challenge director for Transforming Construction, while Roger McKinlay has been named as the challenge director for Quantum Technologies. Both new directors will start their roles in September.

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.

Transforming Construction challenge

Mr Stacey joins UKRI from construction company Skanska, where he was Director of Innovation, Industrialisation and Business Improvement. He will lead the Transforming Construction challenge, a £170 million research and innovation investment, matched by £250 million from industry, to create new construction processes and techniques for building manufacture in the UK. Linked to the Construction Sector Deal, the programme includes funding for research, a new construction network and the creation of an active building centre and innovation hub.

Mr Stacey has driven change in the construction industry through the development and application of new technology, business processes and partnerships within the industry. He is a Chartered Structural Engineer, with degrees from the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London. He also has an MBA from Henley Business School.

He said: “The UK has some of the best engineering, architectural and construction firms in the world, but the sector as a whole lags others such as manufacturing. I firmly believe that the Challenge Fund award and the Industrial Strategy sector deal represent an opportunity to take the UK construction industry from one of the world’s best to an absolute world-beater. I am very much looking forward to leading it.”

Quantum Technologies challenge

Mr McKinlay, a Quantum Technology Strategic Advisory Board member, will oversee the £20 million pioneer challenge for Quantum Technologies which aims to engage researchers to translate quantum science into quantum engineering, and engage manufacturers who can use this work to develop new quantum-enabled devices and products. These technologies could transform whole sectors of the economy, from automotive and telecommunications to healthcare, infrastructure and cyber security.

He read Engineering at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and has worked in the defence, aerospace, maritime and rail industries. He is a chartered engineer, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a Past President of the Royal Institute of Navigation.

Mr McKinlay said: “The quantum challenge is a key element of the UK National Quantum Technology Programme.  The challenge has already brought companies to the fore that have innovative ideas for products and services.  We are now seeing the first fruits of the Quantum Technology Hubs where, for the past four years, world-class research has been combined with clear commercial strategies and unprecedented levels of industrial engagement.”

UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “Both of the new challenge directors bring with them a vast wealth of experience and expert knowledge in their respective industries that will ensure we further drive forward key areas of the ISCF programme.

“I very much look forward to working with them as we look to strengthen, grow and excel in our delivery of UK science and business innovation across these different areas.”