Chief Executive & Management Board
The terms of reference for the board are to manage operations where policy and decisions have major importance for the delivery of our objectives and/or for our key stakeholder relationships.
The main areas of responsibility are to:
- Monitor our performance and delivery and to determine control strategies to mitigate risk
- Take policy/operational decisions or make recommendations to the Council where authority rests with the latter
- Exchange, generate and develop ideas and provide advice as appropriate
- Chief Executive
- Deputy Chief Executive and Chief of Strategy
- Chief Science Officer
- Chief Operating Officer
- Corporate Affairs Group Director
- Finance Director
- Major Projects Director
- Group HR Director
Sir John Savill
Professor Sir John Savill BA, MBChB, PhD, FRCP, FRCPE, FASN, FMedSci, FRS, FRSE, a clinician scientist from Edinburgh, took up the position as chief executive and deputy chair on 1 October 2010. The appointment was initially for three years; after which it was extended until April 2016, and subsequently to 30 September 2018. He was a member of the Council from 2002 to 2008 and chaired two Research Boards during this period.
Between 2008 and 2010 John worked part-time as the chief scientist for the Scottish Government Health Directorates.
He was knighted in the 2008 New Year Honours List for services to clinical science.
John started his research career with a degree in Physiological Sciences from Oxford University in 1978, followed by degrees in Medicine at the University of Sheffield in 1981. He received a PhD from the University of London in 1989.
After junior hospital appointments in Sheffield, Nottingham and London, he spent seven years in the Department of Medicine at Hammersmith Hospital with spells as an MRC clinical training fellow and Wellcome Trust senior clinical research fellow.
In 1993, he moved to the chair of medicine, at the University of Nottingham, then in 1998 became professor of medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he was the first director of the University of Edinburgh/MRC Centre for Inflammation Research, directing a group interested in the molecular cell biology of renal inflammation.
In 2002, John was appointed as the first vice-principal and head of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh. He retains an ongoing, research active involvement with the University of Edinburgh part time throughout his appointment as our chief executive.
- Deputises for Sir John Savill as required.
- Develops and communicates our research strategy and its impact.
- Directs the overall approach to planning and evaluation across the MRC.
- Directs international policy, including global health.
- Is our main interface with the scientific community and with the Health Departments and the NHS.
- Manages research strategy development and processes for stimulating research proposals in priority areas.
- Delivers the research strategy including managing demand, assessing proposals, making and managing awards.
- Manages the investment in research training and career development for scientists.
- Takes a lead in developing ethics and research governance.
- Provides scientific intelligence and advice – both to external stakeholders and within the MRC.
- Responsible for managing financial risk.
- Responsible for the delivery of operational corporate functions, including acting as Chair for the Operations Board.
- Ensures that our research programmes are provided with adequate operational support.
- Plans and delivers a programme of communication and public affairs activities to foster dialogue with the public and other stakeholder groups, show the link between medical research and health, and facilitates our scientists’ public engagement work.
- Leads the development of corporate governance.
- Provides a focus for national policy development, including legislation, research ethics, and associated networking with and influencing of key external stakeholders.
- Responsible for financial strategy and planning; for monitoring, controlling and accounting for expenditure and resources.
- Provides information and advice to assist corporate decision-making.
- Responsible for delivery of major projects for the MRC and for project management standards.
- Ensures that MRC investment in major capital programmes is managed effectively.
- Leads the MRC contribution to the delivery of the Francis Crick Institute and other capital projects.
- Responsible for ensuring the MRC Estate is well-managed and reflects research requirements.
- Develops and implements strategy and policies relating to the employment, performance, remuneration of staff working in units and institutes.
- Responsible for the delivery of change projects, employee relations and engagement.
- Responsible for corporate HR policies relating to the wider scientific community.