David Sweeney CBE

David SweeneyDavid Sweeney CBE is Executive Chair of Research England, a new council within UK Research and Innovation which will be taking forward the England-only responsibilities of HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England) in relation to research and knowledge exchange.

Research England will create and sustain the conditions for a healthy and dynamic research and knowledge exchange system in English universities.

Until April 2018 David was also Director (Research & Knowledge Exchange) for the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

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.

Last updated: 24 June 2022

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