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The BBSRC Executive is based in Swindon, Wiltshire. It is led by the Chief Executive to whom day-to-day responsibility is delegated from the Council.

Chief Executive

The interim Chief Executive is Professor Melanie Welham [Chief Executive’s biography].

The Chief Executive is supported and advised by:

  • Deputy Chief Executive, International – Mr Steve Visscher
  • Executive Group – meets fortnightly to discuss operational issues (chair – Chief Executive) and is responsible for taking forward actions on all matters emanating from Council and its Boards. It also ensures that relevant business is laid before Council in a timely manner and reviews business associated with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and RCUK. Executive Group comprises the Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Directors
  • Office Administration Group – deals with operation of the BBSRC Office; reports to Executive Group

Executive structure

CEO has 7 reports: The top 4 are Deputy CE - International and the Directors of Research, Innovation & Skills and Corporate Policy & Strategy. The other three: the Directors of Communications & Information Management, Finance & Campus Operations and Peop

Deputy Chief Executive, International – Mr Steve Visscher CBE

Steve Visscher

Steve has extensive experience of the UK Research Councils. He has worked for BBSRC since 1994 and previously for predecessor Research Councils and associated institutes.

Before becoming Deputy Chief Executive, Steve was BBSRC's Executive Director, with particular responsibility for funding policy, including the Research Councils UK project on reform of the Dual Support system, resource management, large capital projects and operations. He is a Fellow of the Society of Biology, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the Institute of Internal Auditors.

As Deputy Chief Executive, International, Steve's responsibilities include:

  • deputising for CEO
  • overseeing international strategy and implementation; leading formation of international consortia
  • chairing G20 Wheat Initiative Institutions' Coordinating Committee
  • Vice-Chair for the International Wheat Yield Partnership
  • leading development and coordination of BBSRC Wheat Strategy and investments
  • representing BBSRC on the Rothamsted Board of Trustees, IBERS External Advisory Board and Norwich Research Park LLP Board

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Interim Executive Director, Science – Dr Amanda Collis

Amanda Collis

Amanda studied for a degree in Plant Sciences and PhD in fungal molecular biology before joining BBSRC in 1998. She has extensive experience of the UK Research Councils with strong interests in basic and strategic research, multidisciplinary approaches, funding partnerships and research infrastructures. Amanda has broad experience in UK science policy, including time spent on secondment to the Houses of Parliament, Research Councils UK and detached duty to the British Consulate General – Boston where she worked alongside the UK Government’s Science and Innovation Network. Amanda is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

As interim Executive Director, Science, Amanda has responsibility for:

  • Science Strategy, including horizon scanning
  • Responsive mode
  • UK-US research funding partnerships
  • Representing BBSRC on the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council and ELIXIR Board

Email Amanda Collis

Interim Executive Director, Innovation and Skills – Dr Karen Lewis

Karen studied for a degree in Biology and PhD in microbiology. Before joining BBSRC, she worked in commercial research and development with both a small biotechnology company and a large corporate. Karen has extensive experience within BBSRC, and the Research Councils in a broad range of research and innovation strategy areas. She has held a number of senior roles in what is now the BBSRC Innovation and Skills Group, including leading BBSRC business engagement activities, and establishing a knowledge exchange and commercialisation team. More recently, Karen has also been involved in developing the BBSRC research and innovation campus strategy, working on BBSRC’s bioeconomy strategy, and ensuring these enable bioscience research to deliver benefit and impact for the UK.

As interim Executive Director, Innovation and Skills, Karen’s responsibilities include:

  • Innovation strategy, particularly through research and innovation campuses
  • Business engagement, and interactions with Innovate UK
  • Knowledge exchange and commercialisation, including enabling the emergence of bioscience based businesses
  • High level skills developments in the biosciences
  • Representing BBSRC on the Rainbow Seed Fund, NRP Translational Fund and Plant Bioscience Ltd

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Executive Director, Corporate Policy and Strategy – Dr Paul Burrows

Paul Burrows

Paul trained as a plant scientist and his post-doctoral research focused on plant/pathogen interactions, working for a period at Rothamsted Research. His career developed into science policy and strategy working in the UK Government Department for the Environment Transport and the Regions and latterly in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Much of Paul’s policy work was around the high profile area of regulation and use of genetically modified organisms.

Paul joined BBSRC in 2002 to lead corporate policy and strategy, which covers a range of high-level planning, foresight and performance evaluation activities to help set the Council’s broad strategic direction and priorities. Paul also holds the lead responsibility for oversight of BBSRC's food security ‘grand challenge’.

As Executive Director, Corporate Policy and Strategy, Paul has responsibility for:

  • Leading development of BBSRC’s Strategic Plan and input to spending reviews
  • Delivering effective evaluation and case studies programmes as evidence of impact
  • Leading BBSRC’s Strategic Partnerships with key universities
  • Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for BBSRC’s food security strategic ‘Grand Challenge’ (£100M investment)
  • Chair of the cross-council/cross-Government Global Food Security Programme Board
  • Delivering BBSRC’s policy evidence base
  • Representing BBSRC on the Board of Trustees for Institute of Food Research and BBSRC SRO for the Institute of Food Health and the Gut

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Executive Director, Communications & Information Management – Mr Paul Gemmill

Paul Gemmill

Paul studied modern history at Oxford before gaining an MBA from London Business School. Before joining BBSRC he was Director of Regulation at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and in 2000 he was a founding Director of the Disability Rights Commission. Paul also has considerable experience in the voluntary sector including fundraising with The Prince's Trust and strategy with the British Red Cross Society and prior to that worked in the private sector for National Power PLC. Paul is a Fellow of the Society of Biology.

As Executive Director, Communications and Information Management, Paul's responsibilities include:

  • Leading BBSRC's communications and public engagement activities working with key partners in the industry, academic community, government and beyond in the UK and internationally
  • Acting as the Senior Responsible Officer for the UK Research Councils’ £75M investment in the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's ELIXIR programme
  • Overseeing BBSRC's project management of a range of major projects
  • Delivering modern information systems and management to BBSRC
  • Leading the UK Research Councils' response to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Triennial Review and other review processes
  • Representing the UK Research Councils on the UK Synthetic Biology Leadership Council and chairing the Research Councils UK Synthetic Biology Working Group
  • Representing BBSRC as an observer to The Pirbright Institute Trustee Board

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Executive Director, Finance & Campus Operations – Mr David Parfrey

David Parfrey

David has over 25 years' experience of leading significant business transformation, gained while working for organisations such as British Gas and QinetiQ during their periods of major change. During these periods David has played leading roles, procuring fast jet fighters, transforming MOD test and evaluation ranges and the British Gas demerger project. David joined the Research Councils in 2006, initially leading Finance in EPSRC, and for a short time leading Finance in both EPSRC and AHRC before joining BBSRC late in 2008.

Within BBSRC, in addition to Finance David also has executive responsibility for estates and, with this has direct responsibility for a major capital programme of around £0.5Bn, including the highly complex Pirbright Redevelopment Programme. David plays a major role within the BBSRC campus development strategy, being the Executive lead on a number of the specific Campus developments; he also hosts the Group that provides internal audit and funding assurance to eighteen clients and manages the Swindon Campus on behalf of all its occupying organisations. On a wider stage David is a Non-Executive Director of the Babraham Campus Management Company (BBT Ltd) and also of the Swindon Campus on-site Nursery Company, he was also Chair of Board of BBSRC's Joint Venture in Norwich, CIL, during its formative years. David is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a Fellow of the Society of Biology.

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Executive Director, People & Development – Ms Jan Juillerat

Janet Juillerat

Jan studied for a degree in English Literature and Linguistics before beginning her career in Human Resources. She is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and holds an MA in HRM and an MBA. Jan spent most of her early career in Further and Higher Education, joining the Research Councils in 2003 and BBSRC in 2005. Jan has a broad remit and interests in governance, leadership and organisational development; and a commitment to delivering organisational performance through people. She is a qualified OD practitioner and Executive Coach.

Jan’s current responsibilities include:

  • Leading and directing all areas of people and development, including health, safety, biosafety and security
  • Chair of the Research Councils Pension Scheme Management Board
  • Member of the RCUK Operations Oversight Board
  • Member of the RCUK Change Board
  • Chair of the Research Councils HR Directors
  • Chair of the BBSRC Operations Group
  • BBSRC strategic lead for The Pirbright Institute

Email Jan Juillerat