Executive Chair & Management Board
The terms of reference for the board are to manage operations where policy and decisions have major importance for the delivery of our objectives and/or for our key stakeholder relationships.
The main areas of responsibility are to:
- Monitor our performance and delivery and to determine control strategies to mitigate risk
- Take policy/operational decisions or make recommendations to the Council where authority rests with the latter
- Exchange, generate and develop ideas and provide advice as appropriate
- Executive Chair
- Chief Science Officer
- Chief of Strategy
- Chief Operating and Finance Officer
- Director of Policy, Ethics and Governance
- Director of Capital & Estates
- Director of Partnerships and Industry
Professor Fiona Watt
Fiona Watt obtained her DPhil from the University of Oxford, and carried out postdoctoral research at MIT, Cambridge, USA. She established her first lab at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in London, and then moved to London Research Institute.
From 2006 to 2012 she was Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute and Deputy Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research, University of Cambridge.
As well as being the MRC's Executive Chair Fiona is Director of the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine at King's College London where she leads a team of 80 academic researchers. Internationally recognised in her field, she has expertise in the stem cells of healthy and diseased skin..
- To shape and develop MRC’s head office scientific operations, Boards, Committees etc to maintain excellence and to respond to the changing needs and integration into UKRI
- To personally provide leadership for major science implementation programmes in select areas, by agreement with the CEO
- To ensure MRC’s external networks and internal communications provide up-to-date insight. Through effective contributions to strategy; evaluation; at Board level and across MRC
- Responsibility for MRC’s family of Units, Centres, and Institutes, ensuring that they make exceptional contributions to MRC’s research. Optimising communications, funding, review and governance arrangements, to ensure continuous evolution
- Act as an ambassador for MRC, developing networks and inter-organisational relationships and providing a public voice for MRC on science funding, quality, etc, both nationally and internationally
- Develops and communicates our research strategy and its impact.
- Is our main interface with the scientific community and with the Health Departments and the NHS.
- Manages research strategy development and processes for stimulating research proposals in priority areas.
- Delivers the research strategy including managing demand, assessing proposals, making and managing awards.
- Manages the investment in research training and career development for scientists.
- Takes a lead in developing ethics and research governance.
- Provides scientific intelligence and advice – both to external stakeholders and within the MRC.
- Responsible for managing financial risk.
- Responsible for the delivery of operational corporate functions, including acting as Chair for the Operations Board.
- Ensures that our research programmes are provided with adequate operational support.
- Responsible for financial strategy and planning; for monitoring, controlling and accounting for expenditure and resources.
- Provides information and advice to assist corporate decision-making.
- Leading the delivery of effective governance and accountability throughout the MRC, ensuring Government and UKRI requirements are met. This includes responsibility for effective running of the MRC Council, delegation of responsibility for decision making within the organisation, and relevant policies
- MRC lead for research integrity, ethics, reproducibility, open science, and animals in research, co-ordinating development or review of relevant policies with other UKRI Councils, funders, Academies and other stakeholders
- Representing the MRC externally, and managing the relationship with external bodies funded by MRC in pursuit of policy aims (eg Nuffield Council of Bioethics, NC3Rs)
- Ensuring the MRC’s information and knowledge management policies and procedures support the delivery of accountability and transparency requirements and compliance with information legislation
- Interpreting the implications of UK and EU legislation for the MRC’s research, and ensuring that the interests of the UK biomedical research community are represented effectively to government in relation to any proposed legislative or regulatory changes.
- To ensure that the MRC research facilities fully support the world leading science delivered by the MRC scientists and are operated in accordance with relevant standards and legislation
- To ensure that the MRC complies with its responsibilities under Health & Safety and engaging with the Units and Institutes to improve on H&S performance
- To ensure a close relationship between the MRC and it’s Units and Institutes and providing support in developing project plans for future developments
- To ensure that all estates related projects are delivered within their given budgets and timelines and the expected benefits
- Representing MRC’s interests on projects in collaboration with Universities and Charities, ensuring good governance and protecting MRC investment
- Supporting the Chief Operating and Finance officer in the management of capital funds
- Mentoring staff in areas of project management, particularly setting up and managing construction projects.
Louise is an immunologist by training, and has worked across sectors ranging from academia, funder/charity, and industry.
- Develops and coordinates MRC’s industry strategy, including relevant areas on discovery research, skills, infrastructure, translational research and industry partnerships.
- Oversight of a dedicated translational research budget, and team that develops, funds and manages industry partnerships and translational programmes. Ensures effective reporting across all areas of industry-related funding.
- Supports MRC’s relationships with government and stakeholders on medical research, and MRC’s influence in policy discussions. Acts as an ambassador for MRC on its work in any area, in concert with other senior staff.
- Contributes to wider UK policy and strategy and maintain policy awareness for all MRC Head office.