Cambridge pro vice-chancellor to lead BBSRC

Geneticist Anne Ferguson-Smith is the third new female leader of a UK research council named in recent weeks

December 19, 2023
Source: UKRI

A University of Cambridge geneticist has been chosen as the next executive chair of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Anne Ferguson-Smith, who is currently pro vice-chancellor for research and international partnerships at Cambridge, will take up the BBSRC role in July, it was announced on 19 December.

The appointment of Professor Ferguson-Smith, who is also Arthur Balfour professor of genetics at Cambridge, was described by science secretary Michelle Donelan as “great news for UK bioscience”.

“The BBSRC is a key funder and driving force of this world-leading sector and Professor Ferguson-Smith’s experience will be a major asset in building on that work to support a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future,” said Ms Donelan.

Professor Ferguson-Smith is the latest female scientist appointed to lead a UK research council in recent weeks, with Lancaster University’s Louise Heathwaite named executive chair of the Natural Environment Research Council earlier this month and Charlotte Deane, an artificial intelligence expert at the University of Oxford, chosen as the head of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council a month ago.

Professor Ferguson-Smith said it was a “privilege to be chosen for such an important role, and to be able to champion BBSRC’s research strategy in alignment with national and global challenges”.

“I’ve been supported by, and worked within, the BBSRC ecosystem for a number of years now in a range of contexts, so I’m delighted I will be leading a connected and effective community with such a strong legacy created by the previous executive chair,” she added.

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