She will take the reins from October, replacing Douglas Kell, who is stepping down after five years in the post. Dr Hunter said she was looking forward to working with the organisation to drive UK bioscience research forward.
“The BBSRC plays a vital role in shaping and underpinning the diverse and exciting science base that is essential to maintain the international reputation of UK bioscience and biotechnology,” she said.
“The potential of this research, and the BBSRC investments in innovation to support the UK’s growing bioeconomy and socio-economic challenges, is huge.”
Dr Hunter has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for more than 25 years, holding senior roles in research with GlaxoSmithKline before leaving to form Open Innovation Pharma Partners, a company that works with organisations including universities to increase the value of their research. In 2010 she was awarded the CBE for services to the pharmaceutical industry.
Universities and science minister David Willetts said he was “delighted” by the appointment.
“Her knowledge and experience will be vital in leading an organisation that funds world-class science to tackle some of our major challenges, from climate change to ageing populations,” he said.
BBSRC chair, Sir Tom Blundell, added: “Jackie Hunter will bring to the role of CEO of the BBSRC an impressive knowledge of and enthusiasm for fundamental bioscience, many successes in its translation in both large and small companies, and much experience of leadership of scientific research in large organisations. I look forward to working with her.”
The appointment is for four years, commencing on 21 October.