Our People

The Executive Chair

Research England will be led by an Executive Chair, who will provide leadership and oversight of Research England’s strategy and functions.

David Sweeney was appointed as Executive Chair designate of Research England in early 2017, and is taking a lead role in shaping the new Council and leading the transition of responsibilities from HEFCE into Research England. Until April 2018 David will also continue in his role as Director (Research & Knowledge Exchange) for HEFCE.

About David 

Dr David Sweeney

David Sweeney

After gaining First Class Honours in Statistics at the University of Aberdeen, David worked at two BBSRC research institutes, as a consultant statistician then developing mathematical models of plant growth. His work on the computational aspects of this led into broader applications of IT in education and research, and he was Director of Information Services at Royal Holloway, University of London, before moving into university leadership as Vice-Principal (Communications, Enterprise and Research) in 2004. In this role he was responsible for research strategy and for developing Royal Holloway’s research-led commercial and consultancy activities.

He joined HEFCE in 2008 as Director (Research, Innovation and Skills) and led the development and implementation of the first Research Excellence Framework including the new impact agenda element. He is currently responsible for research policy and funding, knowledge exchange and university/business relations.

David has been invited to visit many countries to advise on research assessment and funding, particularly with respect to research impact.

David was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen in 2012, was Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Newcastle, NSW in 2015 and is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.