David Wilkes

Innovate UK Director for Innovation Ecosystem

David has been with Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, since 2014.

As Director for Innovation Ecosystem he has responsibility for the Innovate UK Catapult Network and the UK Agri-tech centre, and his team leads for Innovate UK on skills, commercialisation, design, and public sector innovation.

He is also a non-executive director of Innovate UK Business Connect. In previous roles, he was responsible for Innovate UK’s strategy on local engagement and levelling up.

Before joining Innovate UK, David had 20 years’ experience in defence research and development (R&D).

He set the strategy for the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) materials research programme, and was Technical Director for the MOD’s Research Acquisition Organisation. During that time, he led development of the Defence Technology Strategy, established the MOD’s first innovation programme for small businesses and represented the UK in several large multinational defence R&D collaborations.

Most recently, he spent four years on secondment to the US Department of Defense. He worked on strategy and coordination across $25 billion R&D programmes in the US Services and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and on Five Eyes defence R&D collaboration.

Find out more about David Wilkes on LinkedIn.

Last updated: 12 June 2024

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