Board of Trustees

The Alan Turing Institute has expanded its Board of Trustees with the appointment of four independent board members: Baroness Nicola Blackwood, Dr Vanessa Lawrence, Carina Namih and Hitesh Thakrar. In addition, we are delighted to welcome Professor Kerry Kirwan as the nominated Trustee from the University of Warwick.

The new appointees come from a range of backgrounds and bring a diverse range of skills, expertise and insights from fields including technology, government, academia and finance, and will help to support the Turing’s wider mission to lead the UK in data science and AI.

The Institute’s Board of Trustees is made up of independent members and nominated Trustees from the Institute’s six founding partners made up of five universities and The Engineering and Physical Sciences Council (EPSRC).

About the new Trustees

Baroness Nicola Blackwood is the Chair of Genomics England, a Member of the Lords Science & Technology Select Committee and Honorary Professor of Science and Public Policy at UCL. Nicola has served as Minister for Innovation in the Department for Health and Social Care (UK) and oversaw NHS Digital, Genomics England and the NIHR, and was closely involved in the creation and development of NHSX.

Kerry Kirwan is the Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) at the University of Warwick and Chair of Sustainable Manufacturing and Materials group at WMG. He is the Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing (EngD) and was previously Director of the EPSRC Industrial Doctorate Centre in High Value, Low Environmental Impact Manufacturing. Kerry also currently leads the University of Warwick's Global Challenges Research Fund programme.

Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB works internationally as a senior advisor to governments, inter-governmental organisations including the World Bank and large private sector organisations. Vanessa is a Director of Location International Ltd and a Non-Executive Director of the Satellite Applications Catapult, the UK's innovation centre for satellite use.  Vanessa is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southampton, a Trustee of the Royal Geographical Society and a Patron of MapAction, the UK-based international charity which specialises in supplying geographical information for humanitarian relief operations

Carina Namih is a Partner at Episode1 Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in the top early-stage technology businesses in the UK. An experienced technology entrepreneur, Carina is the co-founder and former CEO of HelixNano, one of the first computational biology companies to apply AI to develop cancer vaccines. Previously, Carina advised public companies on mergers and acquisitions at Goldman Sachs.

Hitesh Thakrar is an experienced investor with more than 25 years’ experience in public global equities across the technology and innovation sectors, and a Governance Board Member of KQ Labs at the Francis Crick Institute, an accelerator supporting next-generation businesses in data science and life sciences in partnership with the Turing. Hitesh is an advisor to UKRI’s Science and Technology Funding Council (SFTC) that helps early-stage companies spin-out from UK universities. Hitesh is also currently a Venture Partner at Syncona, a life science fund backed by the Wellcome Trust.

Howard Covington, Institute Chair, said, “I am delighted to welcome the new Board members. Each one of our exceptional appointees will bring invaluable new perspectives and add to the strong range of voices already contributing to the Institute’s success.”

For full biographies and a full list of Board members visit the leadership section.