Skip to main content


Sarah Harper to lead the Royal Institution of Great Britain (Ri) as Director

The Trustees of the Royal Institution of Great Britain (Ri), which has been at the forefront of public engagement with science since 1799, have appointed Professor Sarah Harper to lead the organisation as its Director.

Announcing the appointment, Ri Chair Sir Richard Sykes FRS said: “Forging deep connections between science and the public has been the Royal Institution’s core purpose for over two centuries. In today’s political and economic climate, the need for open and critical public debate on the practical, ethical and moral aspects of science is more pressing than ever before.

“As an internationally recognised and respected researcher, communicator, and policy advisor, Sarah is the right person to take this legacy forward as the charity embarks on an exciting new vision and strategy.

“Under her leadership, the Ri will look to grow our collaborations within the science community and across all sectors and to strengthen our impact on a national and international scale.”

Professor Harper said: “Science is key to solving many of the significant challenges the world now faces, such as climate change, disease and demographic change, but scientists cannot work alone. I believe it is essential that the wider public are encouraged and supported to participate fully in evidence-based debates and discussions.

“With its ability to connect science, culture and society at all levels, from primary education to advanced study and cutting-edge research, the Royal Institution has a global role to play in creating such a dynamic forum.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead this ambitious team and I look forward to being part of its dedicated community of staff, members, supporters and volunteers."

Professor Harper will take up her new position as Director of the Royal Institution on 1 May 2017.

About the Royal Institution of Great Britain (Ri)

The Royal Institution’s purpose is to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to think more deeply about the wonders and applications of science and to bring together a diversity of viewpoints in critical discussions about the world’s most challenging issues.

Founded in 1799, it has been home to eminent scientists such as Michael Faraday, Humphry Davy and Kathleen Lonsdale, whose discoveries have helped to shape the modern world. Today it provides science education and heritage activities for audiences across the UK and beyond, including the world-famous CHRISTMAS LECTURES; public talks from the world's greatest thinkers in its historic lecture theatre; a national programme of Masterclasses for young people in mathematics, engineering and computer science; hands-on science workshops in its L'Oréal Young Scientist Centre; animations and films from its award-winning Ri Channel and the preservation of its scientific legacy through the Faraday Museum and archival collections.

Read more: Ri Trustees appoint Professor Sarah Harper as Director