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Bioscience innovation leader appointed as next BBSRC Chief Executive

Bioscience innovation leader appointed as next BBSRC Chief Executive - 4 June 2013. Max Alexander

The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has announced the appointment of Dr Jackie Hunter CBE as the next Chief Executive of BBSRC. See .

Dr Hunter is a leader in bioscience innovation having spent thirty years working in the pharmaceutical sector, including several years developing and leading GSK's external science engagement strategy and building a range of public-private research initiatives. Dr Hunter will join BBSRC from her current role of Chief Executive of her own company, OI Pharma Partners, which is a consultancy that has led the development of open innovation and pre-competitive research within the life sciences sector.

Dr Jackie Hunter CBE. Image: Max Alexander
Dr Jackie Hunter CBE. Image: Max Alexander

Prof Sir Tom Blundell, Chair of BBSRC Council, said: "Jackie Hunter will bring to the role of Chief Executive of BBSRC an impressive knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, fundamental bioscience. She has an enviable track record of success in innovation in the bioscience sector and, crucially in the current climate, of working closely with partners to deliver a common vision and successful outcomes. Throughout her career Dr Hunter has shown an ability to take on major structural challenges and to develop new approaches. I am confident she will be able to build on BBSRC's existing successes and the strong position of UK bioscience as we look at how we improve quality of life for all and build a thriving bioeconomy."

Dr Hunter has strong links with BBSRC, having previously served on BBSRC Council and Strategy Board and led a number of BBSRC initiatives, panels and visiting groups. Dr Hunter founded OI Pharma Partners in 2010 to support the pharmaceutical sector to harness the power of open innovation. Open innovation allows organisations to use a range of collaborative models to find the best ways to bring ideas to fruition and maximise potential benefits for all parties. Prior to this, Dr Hunter was Senior Vice-President and Head of Science Environment Development at GSK where she led global scale public-private research initiatives, instigated new approaches to industry-academia interactions and led the establishment of the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, an open innovation R&D park, in partnership with Government.

Dr Hunter said: "BBSRC plays a vital role in shaping and underpinning the diverse and exciting science base that is essential to maintain the international reputation UK bioscience and biotechnology. The potential of this research, and the BBSRC investments in innovation, to support the UK's growing bioeconomy and in meeting socio-economic challenges in the coming years is huge. I am looking forward to working with the wealth of talent within BBSRC, the research community and its many partner organisations to drive forward UK bioscience."

Dr Hunter will take up her new role with BBSRC on 21 October 2013 on a four year appointment. She succeeds Prof Douglas Kell who leaves the Research Council after five years to return to The University of Manchester.

Prof Blundell said: "I would like to thank Doug Kell for his exceptional leadership of BBSRC since 2008. Doug has led BBSRC at a time of great challenges but has ensured we have seized opportunities for UK bioscience. He has steered us through a tight spending environment and has successfully made the case that BBSRC science not only delivers new knowledge but also economic growth, jobs and improved quality of life, resulting in capital funding for projects such as UK Research and Innovation Campuses, Synthetic Biology Research Centres and e-infrastructure."


Notes to editors

Dr Hunter's appointment to Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of BBSRC has been announced today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Dr Hunter has been appointed following an open competitive recruitment process.

Dr Hunter is current Chief Executive of OI Pharma Partners. For more information see: . She worked for GSK and its predecessor companies, 1989-2010, and earlier in her career for Astra (now AstraZeneca). Dr Hunter received her degree and doctorate from the University of London.

Dr Hunter was made CBE in 2010 for services to the pharmaceutical industry.

She served on BBSRC Council 2004-2010.

Dr Hunter was born in the Cotswolds and is married with a daughter. She gained her first degree in Physiology and Psychology at the University of London followed by her PhD which was carried out at the Zoological Society of London. She undertook a Wellcome Trust post-doctoral research fellowship at St George's hospital, London before joining industry in 1983.


BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £500M (2012-2013), we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see:
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see:

Tags: people policy BBSRC press release