Deputy Executive Chair
Neil is the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Deputy Executive Chair and Chief Operating Officer. He is responsible for the development of strategy, delivery of the EPSRC programme, the day-to-day operation of EPSRC and for EPSRC’s Business Critical Projects Portfolio. He is SRO for The Alan Turing Institute, Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials, UK Collaboratorium for Research in Infrastructure and Cities, Rosalind Franklin Institute and The New Cavendish Laboratory. He is a member of the Alan Turing Institute Board of Trustees and Audit Committee Chairman.
Prior to this Neil spent seven years as an Associate Director in EPSRC with responsibilities covering talent and skills strategy and priority setting. During this time he oversaw the expansion of the Centres for Doctoral Training trebling their number and securing matched funding from government, business and universities to secure a £1 billion portfolio, and the establishment of the National Graphene Institute. He led the executive leadership team though a project to simplify business processes and reduce OpEx that halved the number of schemes and delivered 25% savings whilst improving performance, and was the EPSRC member on the project board that oversaw the establishment of the PSU between the Arts and Humanities Council (AHRC), EPSRC, and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). As Project Director he led the creation of the Joint Venture that established the Alan Turing Institute at the British Library.
From 2005 to 2008 he was in the Office of Science and Innovation, part of the Department of Trade and Industry, first as a special advisor and then Head of Policy and Analysis. He led the Financial Sustainability of Research workstream in the 2007 CSR securing £800 million for university capital investment and to fund full economic costing on grants. He was also responsible for monitoring the Government’s Science and Innovation Investment Framework and the Science and Engineering Base Coordinating Committee.
Previously Neil held a variety of strategy and delivery roles in the research councils, including the design and set up of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), establishing EPSRC’s priority setting process and developing the case for an Operations Directorate and the introduction of formal quality management into EPSRC’s peer review process. He chaired the Project Board that delivered EPSRC’s Nexus grants system.
Neil has a PhD Plant Physiology from the University of Leicester, an MBA (with Distinction) from the University of Bath and was one of the first graduates of the Cabinet Office Project Leadership Programme in 2016. He is an accredited gateway reviewer. He has published research and given international talks on gender and the sociology of grant funding. His hobbies include collecting antique clocks and herbals, brewing, blues guitar and tai chi.
Last updated: 31 March 2022