Sir John O'Reilly


Director General, Knowledge and Innovation, Department for Business, Innovaton and Skills (BIS)

The Director General of Knowledge and Innovation Group is responsible for leading the group’s work to stimulate economic growth by making the UK world class at enabling and exploiting knowledge, research and innovation.

Sir John O’Reilly was appointed Director General of Knowledge and Innovation in February 2013. John came from Cranfield University where he was Vice Chancellor from December 2006.

Prior to that John was Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and has held academic posts at Essex, Bangor and UCL universities. He worked at the Royal Radar Establishment, Post Office Research Centre, BT Laboratories and with the small and medium-sized enterprises sector (IDB Ltd, CAST Ltd).

John is a board member of ERA Foundation, chairman of UK Interoperability Standards (NICC) and a commissioner of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. His international roles include serving on the Board of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and as chair of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) of Singapore and as chair of the systems and communications engineering panel for the European Research Council (ERC).

He is an international member of Académie Hassan II des Sciences et Techniques and of Academia das Ciências de Lisboa. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a past president of the Institute of Electrical Engineers (now the Institute of Engineering and Technology) and a Fellow and former member of council of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

John was created Knight Bachelor in 2007 for contributions to science.