Show/hide main menu


News Highlights

King's Professor Jennifer Rubin appointed ESRC Chief Executive

Posted on 26/10/2017
jennifer rubin - 25-10-17

Science Minister, Jo Johnson, has today announced that Professor Jennifer Rubin, Director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, has been appointed Chief Executive and Executive Chair Designate of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), replacing Tony McEnery who has been in the position on an interim basis following Professor Jane Elliott’s decision to step down earlier this year.

Professor Rubin will continue as Chief Executive until the end of March 2018 and, upon the creation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on 1 April, will become ESRC’s Executive Chair.

Executive Chairs will be crucial to delivering UKRI’s mission to maintain the UK’s global leadership in research and innovation. They will lead each of the nine councils that will be part of UKRI, and the role will combine the responsibilities of the current Chair and Chief Executive of each council.

Announcing Professor Rubin’s appointment, Jo Johnson said:

“UKRI’s Executive Chairs will play a vital role in our Industrial Strategy by strengthening the UK’s global research competitiveness, and Professor Rubin’s wealth of experience ensures that she is well positioned to lead one of our councils through this transition.

“Along with Sir Harpal Kumar being made Innovation Champion, these appointments are key to ensuring UKRI is truly interdisciplinary, representing a broad range of research interests, while aligning our R&D sector more closely with business.”

Professor Rubin said:

“Rigorous social science can be transformative. When brought to bear on pressing challenges from antimicrobial resistance to low productivity, excellent research can make a contribution to improving outcomes for people, communities and economies. I feel privileged to be asked to lead the ESRC in supporting and developing world-leading social science, as well as the skills and data to understand and address societal issues together with colleagues under the new umbrella of UKRI.

“I am also delighted that King’s will remain my intellectual home one day a week, as Professor of Public Policy in the Policy Institute which it has been an honour to lead over the past year.”

Responding to the appointment of Professor Rubin, King’s College London’s Principal and President, Professor Edward Byrne, said:

“This is a fantastic appointment for Jennifer and King’s College London. Serving society is at the heart of our work and it’s a testament to Jennifer’s skill and the innovative work of the Policy Institute that she has been appointed to this crucial and influential role. I wish her all the best and look forward to seeing the results of her efforts.”

Sir Mark Walport, UKRI Chief Executive Designate said:

“Professor Jennifer Rubin has a first class academic background in social science and public policy and is ideally placed to lead ESRC to support and champion economic and social sciences within UKRI.”

Professor Jennifer Rubin is both Director of the Policy Institute at King’s and Professor of Public Policy at the university. Throughout her career, she has focussed on bringing rigorous social science to bear on pressing policy and practice challenges, using research to inform and advance improvements in outcomes. By leading on research programmes across a broad range of topics, from migration, diversity and intolerance, to alcohol and drugs policy and new funding models for public services, Jennifer has significantly influenced national and international social policy.

After obtaining a first class degree in European Politics at Loughborough University, Jennifer obtained her PhD in social and political sciences at King’s College, University of Cambridge.

Before joining King’s College London, Jennifer built and led the justice and home affairs research programme at RAND Europe. She also served on the not-for-profit policy research institution’s executive team, most recently as Executive Vice President, helping to lead its quadrupling in size in Europe. 

As a researcher, she has been Principal Investigator on many cross-national, comparative interdisciplinary studies, receiving funding from bodies such as the European Commission, UK government departments and agencies, including a series of projects for the Ministry of Justice, the Chief Medical Officer, and NGOs and foundations such as the Wellcome Trust. She has also contributed through submissions, advice or convening, to several government reviews including the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit's review of serious and organised crime, the O'Neill Review, the Casey Review and the recent Lammy Review. 


Notes to editors

For further media information, please contact the King's College London PR Office on +44 (0)20 7848 3202 or email

  1. The Policy Institute at King’s addresses complex policy and practice challenges with rigorous research, academic expertise and analysis focused on improving outcomes. Our vision is to contribute to building an ecosystem that enables the translation of research to inform policy and practice, and the translation of policy and practice needs into a demand-focused research culture. We do this by bringing diverse groups together, facilitating engagement between academic, business, philanthropic, clinical and policy communities around current and future societal issues.
  2. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest funder of research on the social and economic questions facing us today. It supports the development and training of the UK’s future social scientists and also funds major studies that provide the infrastructure for research. ESRC-funded research informs policymakers and practitioners and helps make businesses, voluntary bodies and other organisations more effective. The ESRC also works collaboratively with six other UK research councils and Innovate UK to fund cross-disciplinary research and innovation addressing major societal challenges. The ESRC is an independent organisation, established by Royal Charter in 1965, and funded mainly by the Government.
  3. Executive Chairs will be crucial to the ambition for UKRI to be a world-leading research and innovation organisation. Each of the nine Councils that will be part of UKRI will be led by an Executive Chair, a role combining the responsibilities of the current Chair and Chief Executive of each Council.
  4. Operating across the whole of the UK and with a combined budget of more than £6 billion, UK Research and Innovation will bring together the seven Research Councils, Innovate UK and a new organisation, Research England. UK Research and Innovation will ensure that the UK maintains its world leadership in research and innovation, by creating a system that “best environment for research and innovation to flourish. It will come into existence on 1 April 2018.
  5. For more information about King’s visit our King's in Brief page.

News Highlights:

News Highlights...RSS FeedAtom Feed

Applications open for Policy Idol 2018

Applications open for Policy Idol 2018

Applications are now open for Policy Idol 2018, the annual competition open to all current students and staff at King's, in which participants pitch their policy ideas to an elite panel of leading figures from the worlds of politics, academia and industry.
The British public reject 'no deal' on Brexit, new research finds

The British public reject 'no deal' on Brexit, new research finds

New research by the Policy Institute at King's, RAND Europe and the University of Cambridge offers one of the most rigorous looks to date at what sort of Brexit the public want.
The big issues facing Britain beyond Brexit and the general election

The big issues facing Britain beyond Brexit and the general election

Visiting Professors and Research Fellows, as well as students, at King's College London have offered their views on Britain's most pressing policy issues that risk being side-lined in a time of political upheaval, as well as possible solutions to be explored.
Sitemap Site help Terms and conditions  Privacy policy  Accessibility  Modern slavery statement  Contact us

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454