Innovaton chief quits as shake-up looms
THE head of the UK’s national innovation agency is to step down after complaining about the organisation’s declining influence.
Ian Campbell has been working at state organisation Innovate UK for four years and is understood to be leaving for a role in life sciences.
However, no firm date has yet been set for his departure.
Innovate UK is responsible for funding research and development projects, and is part of the UK Research & Innovation quango.
Dr Campbell’s departure will coincide with the retirement of Sir Mark Walport, the UKRI boss, who last year said he would be leaving the organisation at some point in 2020. It comes as ministers seek to shake up taxpayer support for innovation. Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, has been scathing about civil servants’ efforts to foster new technology in the past. He is pushing through the creation of a new organisation modelled on the US Advanced Research Projects Agency.
That American organisation develops military systems that can later be adapted for other uses by the private sector.
Dr Campbell said: “Historically, I’ve been involved in health and life sciences, and when a really excellent opportunity presented itself, I had to think very seriously before deciding it was the right thing for me to do in this stage of my career.”
Writing for The Daily Telegraph last week, Dr Campbell warned against “implicitly jettisoning some of the institutions so recently created”.
He also said that Mr Cummings’ new agency should be built and integrated into a reinvigorated version of Innovate UK.
A US military agency has inspired ministers