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The Infrastructure Advisory Committee

The Infrastructure Advisory Committee (IAC) was established in 2020 to make recommendations to UKRI’s decision-making boards on the pipeline of infrastructure investment priorities and prioritisation of investments through the UKRI Infrastructure Fund (previously called Grand Challenges Funding).

The Infrastructure Fund supports step-changes in infrastructure capability and/or capacity (including new infrastructure, major upgrades, repurposing, transformative developments or decommissioning). It supports investments right across the disciplinary spectrum and from fundamental research to innovation focused activities. Investments may be located across the regions and nations of the UK or form part of major international collaborations. Final prioritisation and decisions will be subject to confirmation of UKRI’s budget in the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

Potential projects will be identified by UKRI Councils and teams using existing community engagement mechanisms. The research and innovation quality, impact potential, sustainability, including environmental sustainability and strategic importance are key considerations which will be assessed by the IAC.

Responsibilities of the IAC include:

  • Advising UKRI Executive Committee and UKRI Board on the prioritisation of infrastructure investments and portfolio options which meet the criteria of the UKRI Infrastructure Fund, including full infrastructure projects and associated scoping, design and pilot work;   
  • Keeping a watching brief on delivery of the infrastructure portfolio, recommending refinements as investments move to implementation and further information about feasibility becomes known;
  • Supporting UKRI in maintaining and developing its understanding of the UK research and innovation infrastructure landscape needs; and
  • Providing advice on the wider research and innovation infrastructure landscape.  

New Members Announced

UKRI has recently appointed two new members to join the Infrastructure Advisory Committee after an open call for members (PDF, 129KB) which ran from March – May 2020. The new appointments, who will start from August 2020, are:

  • Dr Riitta Maijala – Vice President of the Academy of Finland, Helsinki
  • Professor Brian Foster OBE FRS – Donald H. Perkins Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Oxford, Alexander von Humboldt Professor at the University of Hamburg and Emeritus Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Bristol

Membership of the Infrastructure Advisory Committee

Infrastructure Advisory Committee members are drawn from across higher education, innovation and research organisations, industry and commerce, policy and/or civil society. The IAC is chaired by the UKRI Senior Responsible Officer for Infrastructure, Mark Thompson.

The full list of IAC members and observers are:

  • Professor Mark Thomson – Executive Chair of the Science and Technology Facilities Council and UKRI champion for infrastructure 
  • Professor Edward Harcourt – Director of Research, Strategy and Innovation at AHRC and Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Keble College, University of Oxford
  • Professor Andrew Millar FRS, FRSE – Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, Chair of Systems Biology at the University of Edinburgh and member of the BBSRC Council
  • Professor Mark Spearing – Vice-President for Research and Enterprise at the University of Southampton 
  • Professor Anna Vignoles FBA – Professor of Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Dame Julia King (Baroness Brown of Cambridge) CBE, DBE, FRS, FREng – Vice Chair of the Committee on Climate Change, member of the Innovate UK Council and Non-Executive Director of the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
  • Professor Patrick Chinnery FRCP, FRCPath, FMedSci – Professor of Neurology and Head of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge and Clinical Director of the MRC
  • Nigel Bird – Director of Major Programmes and Senior Responsible Officer for the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme at the NERC
  • Alex Herbert – Associate Director of Research Funding at Research England
  • Dr Steven Hill – Director of Research at Research England
  • Professor Sheila Rowan MBE, FRS, FRSE, FInstP – Chief Scientific Advisor for Scotland and Director of the Institute for Gravitational Research at the University of Glasgow
  • Dame Frances Saunders DBE, CB, FREng, FInstP - Chair of the Facilities Strategic Advisory Group and member of the STFC Council
  • Dr James Hetherington – UKRI Digital Infrastructure Director 
  • Dr Bryony Butland OBE – UKRI Infrastructure Director 
  • Dr Riitta Maijala – Vice President of the Academy of Finland, Helsinki
  • Professor Brian Foster OBE FRS – Donald H. Perkins Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Oxford, Alexander von Humboldt Professor at the University of Hamburg and Emeritus Professor of Experimental Physics, University of Bristol
  • Ruth Elliot – Finance and Commercial Director at UKRI (Observer)