Executive Chair, Innovate UK

Dr Ruth McKernan CBE

Dr Ruth McKernan CBE



Ruth McKernan is Executive Chair of Innovate UK, which she joined in May 2015.

Ruth has 25 years of research and commercial experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including heading up research units in the UK and the US. She is a member of the Science, Industry and Translation Committee of the Royal Society and was a Council Member for the Medical Research Council for 5 years.

Ruth’s previous roles include:

  • Senior Vice President, Pfizer
  • Head of the Merck Neuroscience Research Centre

Her awards and achievements include:

  • CBE in 2013 for services to Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Fulbright Scholarship
  • Winner of Glaxo/ABSW Science Writers’ Award
  • Published author with more than 120 scientific papers and 15 patents
  • BSc in Pharmacology and Biochemistry and PhD in Molecular Neuroscience from King’s College, London
  • Author of a book for non-scientists, Billy’s Halo

Executive Chair, Innovate UK

The Executive Chair of Innovate UK is the operational head of the organisation, as it continues its leading role in driving the UK’s technology and innovation strategy.

Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.