University leader joins government drive for growth

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Cranfield University Vice Chancellor Professor Sir John O’Reilly has been appointed the new Director General of Knowledge and Innovation at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

BIS’s Knowledge and Innovation Group leads the department’s relationships with the higher education sector. It also fosters links between the UK’s university, science and research base and industry to support economic growth, both through the development of a skilled workforce and through the transfer of new technologies and innovation.

Professor O’Reilly has been at the helm at Cranfield since December 2006. Before that, he spent five years as chief executive for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Professor O’Reilly said: “There is no more important task in the UK today than creating a strong, growing economy based on science, innovation and research. I am looking forward to working on this with colleagues in the group, in the department more widely and beyond.”

He will take up his new post in early February.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “His team is key to our strategy for delivering strong educational institutions, more innovation and a growing economy.”

The group works with three executive agencies – UK Space Agency, Intellectual Property Office and the National Measurement Office – as well as Non Departmental Public Bodies including the Research Councils, Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Student Loans Company and the Technology Strategy Board.