December 5th 2012

Cranfield University head to lead business department’s Knowledge and Innovation group

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills


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


Professor O’Reilly has been Vice Chancellor at Cranfield University since December 2006. Before that, he spent five years as Chief Executive for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

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.

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.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

“I am very pleased that John will be leading on knowledge and innovation. He brings huge management and academic experience to the post. His team is key to our strategy for delivering strong educational institutions, more innovation and a growing economy.”

Martin Donnelly, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said:

“I am delighted that John will be joining BIS. His wide experience and knowledge across many aspects of science, innovation, engineering and technology will equip him very well to lead the Knowledge and Innovation Group, and to contribute to leading the Department as a member of the Executive Board. I look forward to working with him in the coming months.”

Professor Sir John 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.”

Professor O’Reilly will take up his new post in early February.