Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser

UKRI Chief Executive

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS is the Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge.

UKRI brings together the UK’s research councils, Innovate UK and Research England, operating with a combined budget of more than £8 billion each year.

Prior to this Ottoline Leyser was Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, an interdisciplinary research institute combining computational modelling with molecular genetics and cell biology to elucidate the dynamical systems underpinning the control of plant growth and development. She has made important contributions to understanding the role of plant hormones in developmental plasticity, using the control of shoot branching in Arabidopsis as a model system.

Ottoline has a long-term interest in research culture and its effects on the quality and effectiveness of the research system. She chaired the Nuffield Council on Bioethics project examining these issues and has been actively engaged in work aimed at generating a more inclusive, creative and connected culture. She has worked extensively in science policy.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Member of the Leopoldina and EMBO, and an International Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. In 2017 she was appointed DBE for services to plant science, science in society and equality and diversity in science.

Last updated: 1 September 2023

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