Leading Cambridge neuroscientist appointed as Executive Chair of UK’s Medical Research Council

The UK’s Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, has appointed Professor Patrick Chinnery as the next Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council (MRC). He will succeed the current interim Executive Chair of MRC, Professor John Iredale and is expected to start in October. “Professor Chinnery brings a wealth of experience as a practicing clinician and an already established and valued member of the Medical Research Council,” Donelan said.

“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.”

Prof. 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. Prof. 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 commented: “Prof. 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.

Commenting on his appointment, Prof. 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, Prof. 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.

Prof. 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.

Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Cambridge, welcomed the appointment, saying: “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.”

Professor Patrick Chinnery
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