Innovate UK chief steps down for role in health and life sciences

Dr Ian Campbell will depart the organisation later in the year as it starts the search for a replacement

Innovate UK is on the hunt for a new executive chair after Dr Ian Campbell announced he was leaving.

Campbell, who was interim executive chair at Innovate UK, has secured a position at an unnamed health and life sciences organisation and is expected to depart the government body later in the year. 

Innovate UK is the government's research and development arm that sits under its UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) umbrella. Campbell has been at the organisation for four years but has long had his sights set on a career in the field of health and life sciences.

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"UKRI is looking to recruit a new executive chair for Innovate UK," a spokesperson told IT Pro. "The current Interim executive chair, Ian Campbell, has recently informed us that he has secured a new role in a health and life sciences organisation.

"We are incredibly grateful to Ian for all his work in his current role and in his previous one as Innovate UK's director of life sciences. His commitment to Innovate UK has been and remains unstinting. We thank Ian for all his efforts and wish him all the best in his next job."

At the start of 2020, the government was on the cusp of a major overhaul to its R&D departments with the introduction of a "blue skies" research agency to sit separately from UKRI and Innovate. The new entity is popular with the prime minister's chief advisor Dominic Cummings and is based on the US Advanced Research Projects Agency. 

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Campbell previously warned that Innovate UK had been given "steadily-less prominence, autonomy and capacity" at a time when government policy was looking at the critical role of R&D. 

Ahead of his departure, he told the Telegraph that he was "incredibly grateful" to Innovate UK and praised outgoing UKRI chief executive Sir Mark Walport for his support. 

"Historically, I've been involved in health and life sciences, and when a really excellent opportunity presented itself, I had to think very seriously before deciding it was the right thing for me to do in this stage of my career."

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