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UK Research and Innovation appoints additional Council members


UK Research and Innovation appoints additional Council members

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has appointed an additional 16 members to eight of the Councils which make up UKRI, bringing membership close to full capacity. 

The Councils are responsible for advising and making decisions, as delegated to them by the UKRI Board, on scientific, research and innovation matters. These responsibilities include:

  • The leadership of their discipline area or fields of activity, including the prioritisation of budgets within their delegated remits and the development of delivery plans; 
  • Ensuring the future of skilled specialists, researchers, scientists and others essential to the sustainability of the UK’s research and innovation capacity; 
  • Engaging with their community to develop ideas, raise awareness and disseminate strategic outputs; and
  • Encouraging and facilitating collaborative work across the nine UKRI Councils to foster strategic relationships. 

The members announced today reflect the diversity of communities they represent including higher education, industry, policy and civil society.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, said: 

“I‘m delighted to welcome these new Council members to UKRI. They will play a crucial role in the development of our strategy and governance in the years ahead by stimulating, supporting and challenging the direction of our organisation. The diversity of their personal backgrounds, experience and expertise will ensure that we make the very best choices as we develop our capacity to invest in the important research and innovation questions of the future.”

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council member appointed by UK Research and Innovation are:

  • Mr John Bloomer, Director, JMB Consulting

The Economic and Social Research Council members appointed by UK Research and Innovation are:

  • Dr Lasana Harris, Associate Professor, Experimental Psychology, University College London
  • Professor Sir Bernard Silverman, statistician, former Chief Scientific Advisor to the Home Office (2010-2017) and now part-time Professor of Modern Slavery Statistics, University of Nottingham
  • Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Professor of Psychological Medicine and Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London and a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at King’s College and the Maudsley Hospitals

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council member appointed by UK Research and Innovation are:

  • Dr Joe De Sousa, Pharmaceutical Technology & Development, AstraZeneca UK Ltd

The Innovate UK members appointed by UK Research and Innovation are:

  • Matt Clifford MBE, Co-Founder and CEO at Entrepreneur First
  • Isabel Fox, Co-Founder and General Partner at Luminous Ventures

The Medical Research Council members appointed by UK Research and Innovation are:

  • Dr Precious Lunga, CEO and Co-Founder of Baobab Circle
  • Professor Kim Graham, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Enterprise, Cardiff University

The Natural Environment Research Council members appointed by UK Research and Innovation are:

  • Matthew Harwood, Global Vice President, Strategy and Sustainability for McDermott
  • Clare Matterson, Executive Director, Engagement at Natural History Museum
  • Rebecca Heaton, Head of Climate Change at Drax

The Research England member appointed by UK Research and Innovation are:

  • Kellie Bierne, Director of the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal, Chair of Innovation Advisory Council Wales and Member of Science Advisory Council Wales

The Science and Technology Facilities Council members appointed by UK Research and Innovation are:

  • Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, space scientist, author and BAFTA-nominated broadcaster
  • Benedict Olivier, Oversight Board Member, The UK National Satellite Test Facility
  • Prof Hiranya Peiris, Professor of Astrophysics at University College London and Director of the UCL Cosmoparticle Initiative

Further details of the appointments can be found on the respective Councils’ websites.  


For media enquiries, contact press@ukri.org

Notes for editors

  1. When members were recruited onto the nine Councils in 2018, not all vacancies were filled. Also, a small number of members’ terms ended in March 2019.
  2. Professor Kim Graham and Benedict Olivier will take up their positions on 1 April 2020. All other appointments run from January 2020 to 31 March for a given year.
  3. A small number of vacancies still remain and will be addressed in another recruitment round. 
  4. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity (if any declared) to be made public. No political activity has been declared by any appointee.
  5. Appointees each receive an annual remuneration of £6,850 for their position on Council.
  6. None of the appointees currently holds any ministerial public appointment.
  7. Under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 each of the nine Councils within UK Research and Innovation has a Council comprising the Executive Chair and between 5-12 ordinary members. Council members are appointed by the UK Research and Innovation Board in consultation with the relevant Executive Chair. The Secretary of State may appoint one of the members and is entitled to attend any Council meeting (or nominate a representative to attend).

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