Sir John O’Reilly is the Director General of Knowledge and Innovation at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. He was Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University from December 2006 until January 2012, having previously been Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. He graduated from Brunel University with first class honours in Electrical Engineering, later obtaining a PhD from the University of Essex. He was awarded a DSc by Brunel in 1991. Professor O’Reilly began his career at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern. He 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 industrial experience includes appointments with Ultra Electronics Ltd, with the Post Office Research Centre and a period as a Principal Research Fellow with BT. In the SME sector he has served as Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman of IDB Ltd and non-executive Chairman on CAST Ltd.
From 2001, prior to joining Cranfield, Professor O’Reilly was Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), leading various strategic developments in research, teaching and knowledge transfer.
Professor O’Reilly’s personal research has been in the area of Information and Communication Technologies, with an emphasis on communication networks and applications. Widely published, with some 400 journal and conference papers and three books, he was awarded the J J Thompson Medal of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) for ‘distinguished contributions to electrical engineering’. He has served as a specialist advisor to UK Government and the European Commission, and currently chairs the UK’s Network Interoperability Consultative Committee (NICC) for Ofcom and the telecommunications industry.
In 2004-05 Professor O’Reilly was the President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (now the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)) and is also a 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, he 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 Board of the ERA Foundation elected Sir John to be its Chairman when Prof Sir Richard Brook stood down as Chairman in January 2016.
Sir Alan Rudge is the Deputy Chairman and Senior Independent Director on the Board of Experian Plc. He is a past Chairman of ERA Technology Ltd and was Chairman of the Board of Management of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 until July 2012 and Pro-Chancellor of the University of Surrey until December 2007. Sir Alan was Deputy Chief Executive of British Telecommunications until 1997 and then Chairman of WS Atkins until 2001. He was Chief Executive and then President of Celtel International BV and Special Adviser to General Atlantic Partners until 2004. He was Chairman of the ERA Foundation from its formation until December 2012, after which he was appointed as the Foundation’s President.
Sir Alan is a former Chairman of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, a past President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers and Chairman of the Engineering Council. He has served on a number of national committees including the Government’s Advisory Committee on Science and Technology.
Joanna Kennedy is a civil engineer and director of her own project management consultancy. She has wide-ranging experience of leading complex high profile construction projects. Until 2013 she was a Director and Global leader for Programme and Project Management with Arup, one of the world’s leading multi-disciplinary consultancies. She was a founder of Arup’s project management business, which twice won Project Management Company of the Year.
She gained first class honours in engineering at Oxford and in 1984 helped launch WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) of which she is now a Patron. She has won a number of awards; most recently she was chosen as the 2013 CBI/Real Business First Woman of Engineering.
Her other appointments have included the Engineering Council, Trustee of the Science Museum, board member of the EPSRC, deputy chairman of the Port of London Authority, commissioner of the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 and she chairs the Buildings and Estates Committee of the Royal College of Art. She was awarded the OBE in 1995 for services to consulting engineering.
Bernard Taylor, is Chairman of Evercore Partners International LLP and Vice Chairman of Evercore Partners Inc.
He is a retired member of The Council of the University of Oxford and is a member of the University’s Finance Committee and an Honorary Fellow of St. John’s College. He is Chairman of ISIS Innovation Limited, a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Chairman of the Royal Commission for the Great Exhibition of 1851, Chairman of Garsington Opera and Chairman of the Ashmolean Museum Board of Visitors.
He is a Deputy Lieutenant for Oxfordshire, was educated at Cheltenham College and St. John’s College, Oxford and lives and farms in Oxfordshire.
Professor Sir Christopher Snowden is President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, Guildford, UK and a distinguished engineer with wide experience of the international microwave and semiconductor industry. He was Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Chaired the Academy’s Engineering Policy Group from 2008-2013. He was President of the Institute of Engineering and Technology for 2009-10.
Sir Christopher is a member of the Prime Minister’s advisory Council for Science and Technology. He is a member of the governing body of the UK’s Technology Strategy Board and was a member of the Council of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for six years. He is vice-president of Universities UK and Chaired the UUK Employability, Business and Industry Policy Committee for 5 years. He is a member of the Council for Industry and Higher Education and the Defence Scientific Advisory Council. He was Chair of Higher Education Research Opportunities (HERO) Ltd from 2006-8. He is a Patron of Surrey Youth Focus. He was the Chair of the Daphne Jackson Trust from 2005-9. He was a Governor of the Royal Surrey Count Hospital NHS Trust.
He has been a Non-Executive of several technology companies and advises several others. He has previously held the posts of Chief Executive Officer at Filtronic plc; Head of School and personal Chair of Microwave Engineering in the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds; Senior Staff Scientist at M/A-COM Inc. in the USA, Lecturer at the University of York and Applications Engineer at Mullard Ltd.Sir Christopher is a Fellow of the Royal Society (2005), Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2000), Fellow of the IEEE (1996), a Fellow of the IET (1992) and a Fellow of the City and Guilds Institute (2005).
He holds a number of awards from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the IEEE. He has published 8 books and over 300 technical papers.
Dr Rowbotham spent much of his career in BT, where he became their Director managing BT Laboratories.
In 2000 he moved into venture capitalism, helping manage funds on behalf of St Paul Venture Capital and Vesbridge Partners. His focus is early stage technology and he has been involved in investing in many start-up companies in UK and USA, often serving on their Boards.
He is currently chairman of Diamond Microwave (Leeds) and non-executive Director of Corvil (Dublin).
He qualified in Microwave Physics from Belfast, Surrey and Nottingham Universities, and has been a visiting Professor at Nottingham and Kings College London Universities.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the IEEE, and a Fellow of the IET. He received the Frederik Philips Award from the IEEE for his management of R&D.
Keith Robson is the Foundation’s Executive Secretary.
Keith joined RAE Farnborough as a student engineer in 1976 before completing a degree in Electronic Engineering at Leeds University. These formative years reinforced Keith’s passion for engineering and for innovative approaches to higher education.
On leaving the MOD Keith joined Schlumberger as a wireline field engineer and then R&D Manager for their avionic control systems and sensors division. He went on to become MD of a high-tech SME which he exited 1996 following a successful trade sale. He then formed his own start-up company in computer vision systems before carrying out a successful turnaround of USA owned instrumentation company, Peek Traffic Systems. In 2001 Keith moved from industry to take a management role in the HE sector as a Director of Research and Enterprise, first at Brunel University and then in 2006 at the University of Surrey.
Keith’s work in HE spanned both the private and public sectors, raising government grants as well as venture capital for commercial opportunities in electronics, bioengineering, medical devices, ICT and nanotechnology. He also started the Surrey 100 business Angel Club, one of the region’s most active angel finance organisations. In his final years at Surrey Keith played a key role in setting up the £90 million 5G Innovation Centre, combining his role as Chief Operating Officer for the Centre with his wider responsibilities as Director of Business Engagement. Both roles entailed strong links with the Local Enterprise Partnerships, County and Borough Councils to generate economic growth and development.
The “Guarantors” are the member companies, with the limit of liability for any member company being £5. The Foundation’s mode of operation is governed by Articles of Association, which can be changed only with the approval of the Members at a general meeting of the company. The Foundation is operated by The Board, which at any time will comprise no fewer than three and no more than ten directors. The Board meets in formal session at least four times each year – but more often if needed. Directors are expected to declare any possible conflict of interest, and absent themselves from debate in such circumstances. All meetings are minuted.
Directors are appointed for an initial term of three years, but, on completion of that initial term, can stand for re-election at AGM for two further 3 year terms (that is three 3-year terms in total). Further (exceptional) extensions or re-appointments can only be permitted by passing a special resolution at a general meeting of the company. Details of current directors, and their length of appointment, are given under our Board.
The Directors appoint one of their number to be Chairman, for an initial period not exceeding three years. At the expiry of this term, the Chairman may be appointed for a further term not exceeding three years. Further (exceptional) extensions can only be permitted by passing a special resolution at a general meeting of the company.
Financial issues are scrutinized by an Audit Committee (currently comprising the full Board). The Foundation’s financial year runs from 1st October to 30th September, and fully audited accounts are lodged annually with Companies House.
Directors’ remuneration is recommended by the Remuneration Committee (currently comprising all Directors other than the Chairman). The maximum ordinary remuneration of the Directors is determined annually by the Members at the AGM. Further remuneration for undertaking additional duties may be paid subject to approval of the Board after considering any recommendations from the Remuneration Committee.