Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser

Chief Executive - UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser is the Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge.
UKRI brings together the UK’s Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England, operating with a combined budget of more than £8bn per year.
Prior to this, Ottoline Leyser was Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, an interdisciplinary institute which combines computational modelling with molecular genetics and cell biology in the control of plant growth and development.

Ottoline has a long-term interest in research culture and chaired the Nuffield Council on Bioethics project examining these issues. She has been actively engaged in work aimed at generating a more inclusive, creative and connected culture. She has also worked extensively in science policy, for example serving as Chair of the Royal Society’s Science Policy Expert Advisory Committee, Chair of the Management Committee of the University of Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy, and a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Member of the Leopoldina and EMBO, and an International Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. In 2017 she was appointed DBE for services to plant science, science in society and equality and diversity in science.

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