Sir John O'Reilly

Former Director General, Knowledge and Innovation, UK Government, Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) & former Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University

Starting as a student apprentice at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern (1963-69), he gained a BTech degree at Brunel University, before becoming a Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer and then of Professor of Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex. He received his DSc from Brunel University in 1991.

He was Head of the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Systems at the University College of North Wales (now Bangor University), from where he had gained his PhD. After being Principal Research Fellow at British Telecom Labs from 1993–94, he was Professor of Telecommunications from 1994–2001 at University College London (heading its Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering from 1997). He moved on to became Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and then, from 2006–2013 was Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University.

Awarded the IEE’s J J Thompson Medal in 2004, he was then awarded a Knighthood in the New Year’s Honours in 2007. After Cranfield, he became Director General, Knowledge and Innovation, BIS (2013-15). Since 2015, he chairs NICC Ltd. (developing interoperability standards for all UK public communications networks). He is also a visiting Professor at University College, London and Chairman of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) in Singapore, as well as holding a number of part-time non-executive, advisory and pro-bono positions.