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Academy Fellow appointed as MRC Executive Chair

Congratulations to our Fellow Professor Patrick Chinnery FMedSci on his appointment to the position of Executive Chair at the Medical Research Council (MRC).

In this new role, Professor Chinnery will oversee the council’s full range of funding programmes alongside infrastructure and other cross-cutting UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding allocated to MRC.

He will be responsible for the 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 is currently the MRC Director of Clinical Sciences and Professor of Neurology at the University of Cambridge where he is head of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences. He is also an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

His research primarily focuses on the role of mitochondria in human disease and investigating ways to develop new treatments for mitochondrial disorders.

Professor Chinnery was elected to the Academy’s Fellowship in 2009 for his contributions to the field of neurogenetics. He was awarded the Academy of Medical Sciences Foulkes Foundation Medal in 2011 for his exceptional work on rare genetic diseases, mitochondrial disorders and late-onset diseases such as stroke and Parkinson’s.

Simon Denegri OBE, Executive Director of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said:

“I would like to offer my warm congratulations to Professor Patrick Chinnery FMedSci on his appointment as MRC Executive Chair. As a distinguished clinical academic, Professor Chinnery will bring a broad understanding of the research landscape to this important role, along with a commitment to supporting the next generation of researchers.

“Medical research is crucial to the health and wealth of our society, and the MRC’s funding and training ensure that scientific discoveries have life-saving impacts. With Professor Chinnery at its helm, I am confident that the MRC will continue to deliver exceptional programmes for the benefit of our country’s health, and I would like to thank Professor John Iredale FRSE FMedSci for his fantastic work as interim head.”

Professor Chinnery will 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 Patrick Chinnery FMedSci, 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.”

The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, who appointed Professor Patrick Chinnery to the role, 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 Dame Ottoline Leyser FRS, UKRI Chief Executive, 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 will succeed the current interim Executive Chair of MRC, Professor John Iredale FRSE FMedSci, and is expected to start the role in October.

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