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BBSRC appoints three new members of senior management team

14 July 2008

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has appointed three new members of its senior management team.

Professor Janet Allen FRSE, currently Director of the Conway Institute of University College Dublin, is appointed BBSRC Director of Research; Dr Celia Caulcott, Research Manager at Imperial College, London and independent research management consultant, is appointed BBSRC Director for Innovation and Skills; and Paul Gemmill, currently BBSRC Interim Executive Director is appointed Director of Communications and Information Management.

Professor Allen trained initially in biochemistry and medicine. In addition to her highly successful career in senior appointments in medicine and academic research, she has held research directorships in the global pharmaceutical sector (with Parke Davis/Pfizer) and with an innovative biotech SME, (Inpharmatica). She has also established a spin-out company: Ligand Xpress Ltd.

Professor Allen was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2000. Her research interests are primarily in cell and molecular biology; and in 2002 she was appointed Visiting Professor at the University of Glasgow and at Imperial College, London School of Medicine.

Professor Allen recently joined BBSRC’s Integrative and Systems Biology Strategy Panel.

Dr Caulcott trained initially in microbiology. Following her PhD she joined Celltech Ltd where she worked on and subsequently led research on therapeutic recombinant monoclonal antibodies. After further career progression with ICI Pharmaceuticals and the WellcomeFoundation/GSK, Dr Caulcott became an independent bio-pharmaceutical consultant, working on projects for the then DTI and other government departments and agencies as well as for BBSRC and the Medical Research Council. She also worked for the Wellcome Trust, in particular with the Sanger Institute on the Pathogen Genome Sequencing Programme and the Human Genome Project.

Dr Caulcott's expertise is primarily in management of R&D programmes and technology transfer between academia and industry, particularly in the areas of genomics and biotechnology/biopharmaceuticals.

Paul Gemmill is currently Interim Executive Director at BBSRC. He studied modern history at university before gaining an MBA from London Business School. Prior to joining BBSRC he was Director of Regulation at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Before this in 2000 he was a founding Director of the Disability Rights Commission responsible for strategy and policy and later operations including its very successful Helpline. He also has considerable experience in the voluntary sector including fundraising with The Prince’s Trust and strategy with the British Red Cross Society where he also advised the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on strategy. Prior to this Mr Gemmill worked in the private sector for National Power PLC.

Announcing the appointments, BBSRC Interim Chief Executive, Steve Visscher said: "Professor Allen and Dr Caulcott will bring to BBSRC unparalleled breadth of complementary experience at the critical interface between basic bioscience and its translation, backed by strong research credentials in academia and industry.

"These appointments reflect our progress in drawing together BBSRC’s funding of world-class research with our activities to promote its economic and social impact.

"The two Directors will work together within a single Science and Economic Impact grouping that will also integrate research training and career development, so that we can address coherently the needs of academia and industry."

Commenting on Paul Gemmill’s appointment, Mr Visscher said: "Paul Gemmill brings his managerial strengths, previous experience of communications with the Disability Rights Commission and expertise in project management to a new Directorship that will play a key role across BBSRC's activities. His energy and experience in taking forward a wide range of work across BBSRC will significantly strengthen our corporate functions."


Notes to editors

The new Directors will take up their posts in the autumn. They replace Professor Nigel Brown (BBSRC Director of Science and Technology) who leaves BBSRC in September to take up the post of Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Edinburgh; and Dr Doug Yarrow (BBSRC Director of Corporate Science) who retires later this year. The Director of Communications and Information Management is a new post.

All Directors have been appointed following an open and competitive recruitment process.


The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £420M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life for UK citizens and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.


Matt Goode, Head of External Relations

tel: 01793 413299