Innovation Board

Innovation Board

Strategic advice on the range of activities to deliver on the innovation goals set out in the strategic delivery plan is provided by the Innovation Board (IB), which reports to the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Council.

Terms of reference


The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) supports research in astronomy, physics, space science and operates world-class research facilities for the UK

The ‘innovation’ aspect of STFC’s work has particular significance because it is one way of demonstrating the impact arising from science and technology investments, and so an important aspect of making the overall case for science.

In the context of the IB, ‘innovation’ is used in its widest sense to mean the process of translating ideas and capabilities arising from the research base into practical deployment. For STFC, this research base includes international facilities that are funded by STFC, university partners that receive STFC awards, user facilities and other STFC national laboratory activities and STFC campuses. STFC currently engages in a wide range of means to enable the process of innovation, including the provision of innovation funding, the provision of business incubators, the management of STFC-owned intellectual property, working with businesses large and small and partnerships to develop research and innovation campuses.

IB provides independent advice to Council in developing innovation strategy and advice. In this context it may engage in external reviews. However, any such engagement must have due regard to the impact on STFC, and Council should be consulted as to the nature of the external engagement and approval obtained from the Chair of Council as appropriate.


The board should advise on:

  • the content, balance and priorities of STFC’s existing innovation programmes
  • Engaging with innovation activities across UKRI and new approaches to delivering innovation within STFC
  • STFC’s participation in the research and innovation campuses at Harwell Oxford and Daresbury, and leadership of the innovation opportunities at these locations
  • how STFC can capitalise on its expertise and experience in innovation, and how STFC’s contribution to innovation can best be promoted to stakeholders and government
  • approaches to capturing, measuring and communicating the impact derived from innovation activities supported by STFC, both in the shorter term and longer term, including the criteria for success
  • the development of STFC’s growth and innovation strategy (which will be derived from STFC’s overall corporate strategy)

The above terms of reference will be reviewed annually.

The board will ensure that its business is conducted in accordance with the STFC ethics policy, and have regard to any ethical principles set by the ethics committee and endorsed by Council.

Communications and reporting

The Board is a subcommittee of STFC’s Council and will report to Council. Excellent communication will be maintained with other Council advisory groups, STFC’s Executive Board, and the STFC Innovations Ltd board of directors.


At least one member of Council should be in attendance who may or may not be the Chair. The membership shall include at least one member of the STFC Innovations Ltd Board. Other members will have substantial experience and expertise in delivering innovation. The membership will be reviewed annually

Core members

  • Benedict Oliver – STFC Council (Chair)
  • Dame Patricia Hodge – STFC Council
  • Sarah Thomson Galbraith –   The Galbraith Muir Consultancy Ltd
  • Julie Curran – STFC Innovations Limited
  • Mike Biddle – Innovate UK
  • Graham Nigel Spittle – The University of Edinburgh
  • Simon Aliwell – Zartech
  • Andrew W Smith – Edison Investment Research
  • John Robert Anderson – Imperial College London
  • Caroline Gray – Glyndwr Innovations
  • Matt Read – Liverpool University
  • Sarah Thomson Galbraith -The Galbraith Muir Consultancy Ltd
  • Kai Bongs – Birmingham University

Non-core members

  • Paul Vernon – STFC Business and Innovation
  • Dr Elizabeth Kirby – STFC Business and Innovation
  • Claire Dougan – STFC Strategy, Planning and Communications
  • Jason Green – STFC External Innovations

Secretariat and meetings

The secretariat will be provided by the STFC Business and Innovation Directorate. The Board is expected to meet at least twice each year, and up to four times in total with other ad-hoc meetings to be arranged as required.

Contact: Debbie Dearnley

Last updated: 14 September 2023

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback.