Today, Sir Mark Walport FRS FMedSci has announced his retirement as Chief Executive of UKRI in 2020.
Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences commented on the announcement:
“Sir Mark has skilfully navigated the tremendous challenge of bringing together our esteemed Research Councils under the single banner of UKRI. In doing so, he has overseen one of the most radical changes of the research funding landscape in the UK in recent times. This groundwork was essential to meet the changing demands of modern research, where the boundaries between disciplines have blurred and where collaborative approaches are required to address the greatest research challenges.
“Specifically Sir Mark has managed to successfully oversee this transition: bringing a renewed focus to the dual-funding mechanism for research; championing open access and transparency in research; and ensuring that the UK has the necessary structures to deliver the Government’s target to increase investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP.
“On a personal note, I have very much enjoyed working with Sir Mark over the years and have appreciated his wit and wisdom. He was also a founder Fellow and first Registrar of the Academy, and we have benefitted greatly from his wise advice and support over the last 20 years.
“Though this is undoubtedly sad news, I am pleased to see that Sir Mark is not leaving his post until 2020, giving UKRI time to plan for his departure. Though UKRI has been set on the right course, it will require a brilliant leader to continue this progress, setting the UK on a path to achieving the 2.4% target and guiding the organisation through the uncertain times ahead.”