Business Secretary selects Professor Dame Jessica Corner as new Executive Chair of Research England

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has selected Professor Dame Jessica Corner as the preferred candidate for the role of Executive Chair of Research England.

As Executive Chair of Research England, Professor Corner will take up responsibility for quality related research funding to English universities, largely informed by the results of the Research Excellence Framework exercise, as well as funding for knowledge exchange activities. She will also lead Research England’s role in ensuring the health and stability of English universities in their research and innovation activities.

Professor Corner will also be part of the UKRI senior leadership team working closely with UKRI’s Chief Executive, UKRI Board and the other Executive Chairs to collectively oversee UKRI’s strategy, funding programmes and infrastructure.

Professor Corner has an accomplished background as both a trained nurse and academic specialising in cancer palliative care and more recently as a senior university leader in the role of Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange at the University of Nottingham.

Professor Corner was awarded a DBE in 2014 for services to Health Care Research and Education and was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2015.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

I am delighted to name Professor Dame Jessica Corner as preferred candidate to steward Research England through the years to come. I look forward to working closely with her and the UKRI leadership team to ensure the continued success of the world leading research carried out by our universities, building on the UK’s reputation as a science superpower.

I would also like to thank Dr David Sweeney for his tireless work for the research sector as inaugural Executive Chair of Research England and previously at HEFCE. I wish him the very best for his retirement.

Professor Jessica Corner said:

I am delighted to be chosen as the preferred candidate for the role of Executive Chair of Research England at this time of huge opportunity for the country’s truly outstanding research base. I know I will be building on the immense contribution made by David Sweeney to UKRI, Research England and our research ecosystem over his extensive career. I look forward to supporting our national community of researchers as they continue to explore, discover, and innovate to transform lives across the globe.

UKRI aims to create an outstanding research and innovation system that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute and benefit. It is the UK’s primary public funding body for research and innovation, with a budget of £25.1 billion over the spending review period of 2022-2023 to 2024-2025.

Professor Corner is due to succeed the current Executive Chair of Research England, Dr David Sweeney, who is due to retire. Professor Corner is expected to start in October.

The post of Executive Chair of Research England is subject to a pre-appointment hearing by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. The Committee have decided to hold a hearing which will take place on 20 July 2022.

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