Science Minister Jo Johnson on 17 May 2016 confirmed that John Kingman will be appointed as Chair of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on an interim basis, to set up the new organisation in shadow form.
Announced on 16 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).
With a combined budget of more than £6bn, UKRI will be a major voice for UK research and innovation in the UK and globally.
As part of his role, John Kingman will provide advice to ministers on the competition to quickly recruit a leading scientist to take the reins as UKRIChief Executive and will work closely with the existing leaders of the Research Councils, Innovate UK and HEFCE.
The formation of UKRI will ensure the UK can lead the world in multi- and inter-disciplinary research, where some of the most exciting breakthroughs are happening. It will also provide a more strategic approach to addressing major global research and innovation challenges.
UKRI will also take on responsibility for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) working with the devolved administrations to deliver a UK-wide assessment of university research performance, and the associated university “block grant” for English universities – both currently managed by HEFCE.
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:
“I am delighted that John has agreed to take on this role. As someone who has overseen 5 spending reviews which prioritised science, John is uniquely placed to set up this new organisation and understand how best to maximise the value of our investment in research and innovation for the economy and society.
“John will now be working closely with the research and innovation communities to shape the new organisation and oversee a competition to recruit a leading scientist as the first chief executive.”