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New MRC Council appointed

21 Mar 2018

The Board of UK Research and Innovation has confirmed the appointment of the MRC’s new Council.

The Council comes into effect with the launch of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on 1 April 2018. Welcoming the announcement, Professor Fiona Watt, the MRC Executive Chair Designate, said: “I am delighted to welcome the new MRC Council members and look forward to working with them to help to shape the UK biomedical, research and innovation landscape at this time of extraordinary transition. Academic research has a very important role to play in the UK economy. The increase in the research budget, along with the opportunity for collaborative working across the different research councils, offer remarkable opportunities for the MRC to pursue its mission of improving the health of people in the UK and around the world.”

The members of the Council will be as follows:

  • Dr John Brown^, Chair of the Cell Therapy Catapult and co-Chair of the Life Science Advisory Board for the Scottish Government
  • Professor Anne-Ferguson Smith***, Professor of Genetics and Head of Department, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs, the Science Museum Group, London
  • Professor John Iredale^, Pro-Vice Chancellor Health, University of Bristol
  • Mr Richard Murley^*, Vice Chairman of Rothschild and Chairman of United Trust Bank Ltd
  • Dr Mene Pangalos^, Executive Vice-President of Innovative Medicines, AstraZeneca
  • Professor Jill Pell, Director of Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, NHS Chair of Pharmacogenetics, David Weatherall Chair of Medicine and Associate Executive Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Liverpool
  • Professor Eleanor Riley, Director, The Roslin Institute; Dean for Research and Professor of Immunology and Infectious Disease, Royal School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Graham Spittle, Chair of Health Data Research UK
  • Professor Irene Tracey^, Nuffield Chair of Anaesthetic Science and Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford
  • Dr Pauline Williams^, Senior Vice-President and Head of Global Health R&D, GSK
  • Professor Charlotte Watts**, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for International Development
  • Dr Louise Wood**, Director of Science Research and Evidence, Department of Health

As part of the nine Councils of UKRI, the MRC Council will work with the Executive Chair to deliver the MRC’s aims and objectives and to support UKRI's overall mission to maintain the UK’s world-leading position in research and innovation. The MRC Council members will also provide the Executive Chair, and UKRI more widely, with input, intelligence and feedback from their communities and stakeholder groups. The Council will act as a critical friend to the UKRI Board.

Notes for editors

  1. The appointments to Council are made in accordance with the Code of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
  2. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity (if any declared) to be made public. No political activity has been declared by any appointee.
  3. Appointees each receive an annual remuneration of £6,850 for their position on Council.
  4. None of the appointees currently holds any ministerial public appointment.
  5. Under the HER Act each of the nine Councils within UK Research and Innovation has a Council comprising the Executive Chair and between 5-12 ordinary members. Council members are appointed by the UK Research and Innovation Board in consultation with the relevant Executive Chair. The Secretary of State may appoint one of the members, and is entitled to attend any Council meeting (or nominate a representative to attend).
  6. * Senior Independent Member: One member will be appointed as Senior Independent Member with a direct communication channel to the Board and Chief Executive.
  7. ** Councils will want to call on the best expertise and advice as required to fulfil their functions.  As such, UK Research and Innovation will ask Civil servants (including but not limited to Chief Scientific Advisors), to join the council in a personal capacity.
  8. ***Professor Ferguson-Smith’s appointment has been deferred for one year; her appointment will commence on 1 April 2019.
  9. ^ Members previously served as a member of the research council.


  • Categories: Corporate
  • Health categories: Other
  • Locations: London, Other
  • Type: News article