Professor Sir Mark Walport named as first chief executive of UKRI

2 February 2017

The minister for universities, science, research & innovation, Jo Johnson, has announced that Professor Sir Mark Walport will be the chief executive designate of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI).

Sir Mark Walport

The full government announcement - external link - is available on the GOV.UK website.

UKRI will, subject to legislation currently in Parliament, incorporate the seven research councils, Innovate UK and the research funding and knowledge exchange parts of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). It is anticipated that UKRI will be formed in April 2018.

Professor Philip Nelson, chair of Research Councils UK, said:

"Mark is a fantastic choice as the first chief executive of UKRI. His career has taken him through active research, leadership of high profile organisations and into government. This experience and his knowledge of how the research and innovation base and policymaking works is unrivalled. I am confident Mark will ensure UKRI delivers on the potential of a more coordinated and strategic research and innovation system, with a stronger and clearer voice. Together with my colleagues across the research councils, I look forward to working with him over the next year to establish UKRI and set it on a successful course."

Dr Ruth McKernan, chief executive of Innovate UK, said:

"The creation of UK Research & Innovation is an unprecedented opportunity to fuse together world leading UK science with cutting edge innovation from British businesses. To make sure the new organisation delivers on that opportunity it will require the sort of strong leadership and expert knowledge that Sir Mark will bring to the role.

His substantial experience will set UKRI up for success and the whole team at Innovate UK look forward to continuing to work closely with him to make sure that UKRI is fully prepared to address the scientific, economic and social challenges of the future."

Professor Madeleine Atkins, HEFCE chief executive, said:

"We look forward to working with Sir Mark over the coming months in the period of transition to the creation of UK Research & Innovation. The HEFCE chief executive, directors and staff will work with the new chief executive to ensure a smooth and efficient process in developing the UKRI and for transferring the relevant staff from HEFCE.

Sir Mark has tremendous experience of research in the public, charity and university sectors. He will bring this to bear on the creation and operation of this very important new public body which will deliver government policy for science and innovation in the future."


Further information

Maraki Mikroudaki
NERC internal & external affairs manager
01793 442623