News story

Sir John Kingman announced as Chair of UK Research and Innovation

The current interim chair of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will take up the role of permanent chair in April this year.

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  • science, research and innovation is at the heart of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy and John Kingman will play a key role in delivering the ambitious vision of UKRI
  • through the Industrial Strategy the government will boost spending on research and development to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, the biggest ever increase in UK R&D spending

Business Secretary Greg Clark has today (Tuesday 16 January) announced that Sir John Kingman will take up the role of permanent chair of UKRI in April this year. Sir John has been interim chair since May 2016 and his appointment follows a fair and open competition.

With a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UKRI will be a major voice for research and innovation in the UK and globally, helping implement the government’s ambitious Industrial Strategy.

Boosting research and development (R&D) is key to the Industrial Strategy and the government has committed to the biggest ever increase in R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027, which could increase public and private R&D investment by as much as £80 billion over the next 10 years.

Commenting on his appointment, Sir John said:

I am thrilled to have been selected to be chair of UK Research and Innovation. This is a moment of exceptional opportunity - and responsibility - to make best possible use of the very large increases in science and innovation funding committed in the Industrial Strategy. In 18 months as interim chair, robust foundations have been laid for the new organisation: we have recruited a superb chief executive and executive team; a formidable Board; and exceptional new talent into key leadership roles at the research councils. It is a huge privilege to be given the opportunity to continue.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

Since May 2016 when Sir John Kingman was appointed the interim Chair, he has been central to the formation of UKRI. As we work to establish this new organisation, Sir John has worked tirelessly to develop UKRI’s strategy and approach.

Research and development is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy, and UKRI will be the vehicle to ensure that we capitalise on innovation and work closely with industry and universities to ensure that we double down on our strengths and make the most of the opportunities in our world leading scientific and research base.

Sir John was appointed as Chair of UKRI on an interim basis in May 2016, to set up the new organisation in shadow form.

Sir John is also Group Chairman of Legal and General PLC. Until July 2016, Sir John was Second Permanent Secretary to the HM Treasury. Over the course of his HM Treasury career Sir John has had a sustained involvement in science and innovation funding and policy; in total he has worked on 5 Spending Reviews which prioritised science and innovation.

In 2004, John personally led the then government’s 10 year framework for science and innovation. He has also been closely involved over many years in policymaking on R&D tax credits. In addition to his HM Treasury career, John has worked in the Group Chief Executive’s office at BP, been a Lex columnist at the Financial Times and a Managing Director at Rothschild, the investment bank. He is a World Fellow of Yale University, a Trustee of the Royal Opera House and a member of the advisory committee for Jim O’Neill’s review on antimicrobial resistance.

As announced in May 2016, in the government’s higher education and research white paper, ‘Success as a Knowledge Economy’, UKRI will be established as a single, strategic body that will bring together the 7 Research Councils, Innovate UK and the research funding from Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

UKRI will ensure that the UK maintains its world-leading research and innovation position by creating a system that maximises the contribution of each of the component parts and creates the best environment for research and innovation to flourish.

The post of Chair of UKRI is subject to a pre-appointment hearing by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. The Committee will consider this appointment in due course.

Published 16 January 2018