Retirement of Sir John O’Reilly

Sir John O’Reilly has retired from the ERA Board after 13 years of continuous service to the Foundation.

Sir John O’Reilly joined the ERA Foundation as a Director in July 2008, and has worked as both as a board member and as the Foundation’s Chair. The end of his tenure as a board member this May marks 13 years of service to the Foundation.

The Board of the ERA Foundation elected Sir John to be its Chairman when Prof Sir Richard Brook stood down in January 2016. He served as chair between 2016 and 2019.

Sir John graduated from Brunel University with first-class honours in Electrical Engineering, later obtaining a PhD from the University of Essex. He began his career at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern and has held posts as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex, was Professor of Electronic Engineering and Head of the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Systems in the University of Wales, Bangor, was Chair of Telecommunications at University College London, where he served also as Head of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. His extensive industrial, academic and government experience has been invaluable in guiding the Foundation during his time on the Board and included (amongst others) his roles as:

  • Director-General of Knowledge and Innovation at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, 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.
  • Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University from December 2006 until January 2012, having previously been Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
  • President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (now the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)) 2004-05 and also former president of EUREL, the Confederation of European Professional Electrical Societies.

A Fellow and former member of the Council of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Sir John is also a Foreign member of Academie Hassan II des Sciences et Techniques and of Academia das Ciências de Lisboa. In the 2007 New Year Honours list Professor O’Reilly was awarded a knighthood for contributions to science.

The Foundation is immensely grateful to Sir John for his energy and commitment throughout his long tenure.