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Gillespie, Iain


  • Source: Scopus
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Personal profile


Iain Gillespie is Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Dundee, appointed in January 2021. Prior to that Iain was Pro Vice Chancellor, Research and Enterprise at the University of Leicester. During his time in Leicester, Iain led  their £100M Space Park development, the designation of the UK’s first Life Science Opportunity Zone at Charnwood, and  the university’s Global Strategy, including Joint Education initiatives with Dalian University of Technology and  with Chongqing Medical University as well as the establishment of the sector-leading Nairobi Alliance in partnership with leading African universities.

He was formerly Director of Science and Innovation at the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the UK’s leading funder for environmental science, and was lead director for international research across all seven UK research councils that are  now part of UKRI. He is Honorary Visiting Professor at University College London, Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Honorary Professor at Jiangsu University, China, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

Prior to NERC, Iain was Visiting Professor in innovation in the life sciences at the University of Edinburgh. He spent 10 years at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development leading work on science, technology and innovation and more than a decade in UK central government, with science-based roles in the Cabinet Office, and the Departments of Environment of Trade and Industry and of Health. He has had considerable engagement at UN and regional international level as well as in UK domestic policy and enterprise relations.

External positions

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester

Jan 2016Jan 2021

Director of Science & Innovation, Natural Environment Research Council

Sep 2013Dec 2015

Head of Science and Technology Policy Division, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Feb 2009Oct 2011

Head of Biotechnology Division, Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Jan 2005Jan 2009

Head of Biotechnology Unit, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

May 2001Nov 2004

Section Head, Industry & International Branch, United Kingdom Department of Health

Mar 1998May 2001


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