The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, has appointed Professor Patrick Chinnery as the next Executive Chair of the MRC.
Michelle Donelan said: “Professor Chinnery brings a wealth of experience as a practicing clinician and an already established and valued member of the Medical Research Council.
“By heading up one of the UK’s key public funding bodies for medical research, he will spearhead delivery of high-quality training and fellowships for researchers and funding for life-changing discoveries that are so crucial to our country’s health and wellbeing.
“I also pay tribute to Professor John Iredale for his work as interim Executive Chair and thank him for his invaluable service.”
Professor Chinnery is currently the MRC’s Director of Clinical Sciences and Professor of Neurology at Cambridge. He is also an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust. Professor Chinnery’s key research interest concerns the role of mitochondria in human disease and investigating ways to develop new treatments for mitochondrial disorders.
UKRI Chief Executive Dame Ottoline Leyser said: "Professor Chinnery is an exceptional leader who will play a key role in the continued development of UKRI and the Medical Research Council, ensuring it maintains its pivotal role in driving excellence in the biomedical and health sciences.
"He brings a great breadth of experience from across the medical sciences combined with a deep knowledge of the organisation from his time as MRC’s Director of Clinical Sciences. I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to express my profound thanks to Professor John Iredale for his superb service and leadership as MRC's interim Executive Chair, on which Professor Chinnery will build."
Professor Chinnery said: “Opportunities to advance human health through research have never been greater, and the UK is in a very strong position globally. It will be a real privilege to lead the MRC at this exciting time, working with colleagues in UKRI and across the sector to deliver scientific and clinical impact.”
As MRC Executive Chair, Professor Chinnery will oversee the Council’s full range of funding programmes and be responsible for its annual core budget alongside infrastructure and other cross-cutting UKRI funding allocated to the MRC. He will be responsible for MRC’s portfolio of institutes as well as for the Council’s wider role in providing training and support for the UK medical research community.
Professor Chinnery will also join the other UKRI Executive Chairs as a member of the UKRI senior leadership team and will work closely with them, UKRI’s Chief Executive and the UKRI Board to collectively manage and oversee UKRI’s strategy, funding programmes and infrastructure. He will succeed the current interim Executive Chair of MRC, Professor John Iredale and is expected to start in October.
Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Cambridge, welcomed the appointment. She said: “Many congratulations to Patrick on his appointment as Executive Chair of the MRC. In addition to being a world-leading active researcher in mitochondrial disease genetics, Patrick brings a wealth of MRC experience to this role, most recently as its Clinical Director and I know he has a strong commitment to the development of our next generation of biomedical researchers.
“These are important times for the MRC as it continues to invest in fundamental discovery research in the life sciences, experimental medicine and the translation of both to the clinic. His is an excellent appointment and we wish Patrick all the very best as he takes the helm at the MRC.”