Press release

Reappointment of Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council

Professor Sir John Savill has been reappointed as Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the Medical Research Council.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts today (24 March 2014) announced the reappointment of Professor Sir John Savill as Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC).

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

I am delighted that Professor Sir John Savill has been reappointed as Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the MRC for a further term. His extensive experience in academia and the public sector make him very well placed to continue taking forward the council’s aim to support world-leading medical science.

Donald Brydon, Chair of the MRC said:

The MRC is fortunate that John Savill’s tenure has been extended. His commitment to basic science and to its translation for the benefit of all is just what is needed at this time.

Sir John Savill said:

I am delighted to be serving the Medical Research Council as it moves into a second century of discovery for health and wealth.

The appointment is until 31 March 2016.

Notes to editors:

  1. The MRC is dedicated to improving human health through world-class medical research. It supports research across the biomedical spectrum, from fundamental lab-based science to clinical trials, and in all major disease areas.

  2. Professor Sir John Savill, a clinician scientist from Edinburgh, began his first term as Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the MRC on 1 October 2010 for an initial 3 year period. He was reappointed on 1 October 2013 for 1 year. He was a member of the MRC Council from 2002 to 2008 and chaired 2 MRC Research Boards during this period.

Between 2008 and 2010 John worked part-time as the Chief Scientist for the Scottish Government Health Directorates. He was knighted in the 2008 New Year’s Honours List for services to clinical science.

John started his research career with a degree in Physiological Sciences from Oxford University in 1978, followed by degrees in Medicine at the University of Sheffield in 1981. He received a PhD from the University of London in 1989.

After junior hospital appointments in Sheffield, Nottingham and London, he spent 7 years in the Department of Medicine at Hammersmith Hospital with spells as an MRC clinical training fellow and Wellcome Trust senior clinical research fellow.

In 1993, he moved to the Chair of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, then in 1998 became Professor of Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he was the first Director of the University of Edinburgh/MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, directing a group interested in the molecular cell biology of renal inflammation.

In 2002, John was appointed as the first Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh. He retains his research involvement with the University of Edinburgh part-time throughout his appointment as MRC Chief Executive.

3.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 24 March 2014