The Institute for Global Innovation Advisory Board

The Advisory Board provides invaluable direction that provides non-binding strategic advice to the management of the institutes. The advisory board is composed voluntary representatives from across industries. The Board consists of high-level executives selected for their exceptional stature and their commitment to the University. The contribution they make is crucial to our continued success and future development. The Board is chaired (Interim) by Professor Tim Softley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, University of Birmingham.

Our Board Members

James Bridge, Chief Executive Officer, Secretary-General of the UK National Commission for UNESCO 

Portrait of James BridgeJames Bridge is the Secretary-General and Chief Executive of the UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC). UKNC is at the heart of the UK's UNESCO activities and is part of the global network of 199 National UNESCO Commissions. Alongside the administration of the UK government's Newton Prize (the prize of the Newton Fund), James advises UK and Devolved Government, Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies on UNESCO and UNESCO in the UK; and works with the UK's over 150 UNESCO designations. James was elected as President of the global meeting of UNESCO's National Commissions at its 2017 Conference.


Dame Una O’Brien, Leadership consultant and expert advisor on the UK Civil Service

Portrait of Dame Una ObrienDame Una O’Brien, was Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health between 2010 and 2016.  A Civil Servant for 27 years, Una worked in a wide range of senior leadership roles across three government departments and in the broader public sector. Currently Una is serving on the panel and is expert advisor to the RHI public inquiry in Northern Ireland, investigating the circumstances that led to the collapse of the devolved government.  In addition she is a trustee and Council member of the University of Birmingham; Macmillan Cancer; the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Una grew up in and maintains strong links with the city of Birmingham.  She studied at History St Anne's College, Oxford, where she is now an Honorary Fellow, and International Relations at Harvard and the LSE. 


Richard Haywood, University of Birmingham Deputy Pro-Chancellor 

Portrait of Richard HaywoodRichard Haywood is an alumnus of UoB having graduated in law in 1977. Richard is a corporate lawyer by background having been a partner of Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP, the City law firm, and before that, Wragge & Co (now Gowling WLG). Richard advised corporates in a variety of sectors for over thirty years with a particular focus on M & A and Joint Ventures. He now takes on roles as an investor in and non executive director and Chairman of private equity backed businesses. He is currently Non executive Chairman of Clarilis Limited, a Legaltech business and an NED of Asterisk Network Solutions, a Fintech business. Richard has been a lay member of the Council since 2012 and Deputy Pro-Chancellor since 30th November 2014. He is a member of the Strategy, Planning and Resources Committee, Chairman of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Membership Committee and the Investment Sub-Committee. Richard chaired the 2015 and 2020 Effectiveness Reviews of the Council of the University. Richard served for four years as a non-executive director of Birmingham Royal Ballet between 2002-2006 and has also served as an NED of CloserStill Group and non executive Chairman of Mobica Holdings Limited.


Prof Hisham Mehanna, Director of the Institute for Global Innovation and Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Birmingham

Professor Hisham MehannaHisham has a keen interest in clinical and translational research, heading a research team of 20 researchers, and holding over £15million in research grants. His experience of multi-disciplinary research in the field of cancer biology and treatment has made him a strong proponent of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research, as the way to provide new insights and approaches to address intractable global challenges. As Director of Institute for Global Innovation (the IGI), Hisham strives to ensure that the Institute inspires, supports and delivers world-leading, multi- and inter-disciplinary research that seeks to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, that affect humanity at a global level. The IGI’s research themes revolve around the factors that challenge, and sometimes threaten, the sustainability and resilience of individuals, communities, countries and the world as a whole. Our themes include resilient cities, water challenges, antimicrobial resistance, ageing and frailty, gender inequality, and 21st century transnational crime. Our scholars seek, to not only understand these problems, but also develop and implement innovative and often disruptive solutions, made possible by their holistic, inter-disciplinary approaches.


The Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell MPPolitician 

Portrait of Andrew Mitchell MPAndrew Mitchell was Secretary of State for International Development in the British Government from May 2010 until he became Government Chief Whip in September 2012. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 2010. Prior to joining the cabinet, he held numerous junior positions in Government and in opposition. He has been the Member of Parliament for Sutton Coldfield since 2001. Previously he was Member of Parliament for Gedling. He was a member of the National Security Council in Britain and a Governor of the World Bank between 2010 and 2012. Andrew is a Senior Adviser to Investec and Ernst & Young. In 2017 he was appointed as a Senior Adviser to the African Development Bank. Previously he served in the Army (Royal Tank Regiment) as an UN Peacekeeper before joining the international Investment Bank, Lazard where he worked on and off for 30 years. He was a Director of Lazard Asia and Lazard India as well as of Lazard London. He is a fellow at Cambridge University; a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University; and an Honorary Professor in the School of Social Sciences for the University of Birmingham. He is a member of the Strategy Advisory Committee at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. Andrew was educated at Rugby School and Cambridge University, where he was elected as President of the Cambridge Union.


Prof Dominique Moran, Deputy Director, Institute for Global Innovation and Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Birmingham

Portrait of Professor Dominique MoranDominique joined the Institute for Global Innovation as Deputy Director in October 2019. Dominique is a prolific researcher in the field of Carceral geography and brings a wealth of experience in interdisciplinary research. Dominique’s research and teaching is in the sub-discipline of Carceral geography, a geographical perspective on incarceration. Supported by the ESRC, her research has informed and extended theoretical developments in geography, criminology and prison sociology, whilst interfacing with contemporary debates over hyper incarceration, recidivism and the advance of the punitive state. She is currently researching the impact of nature contact on prisoners' wellbeing and the experience of ex-military personnel working in the prison service. Dominique is Chair of the Carceral Geography Working Group of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers.


Sandie Okoro, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the World Bank Group

Portrait of Sandie OkaroIn addition to her official duties as part of the World Bank Group, Sandie is an ardent defender and champion for female empowerment, gender equality, and justice for all. Prior to joining the World Bank, Sandie was General Counsel for HSBC Global Asset Management, Deputy General Counsel of HSBC Retail Banking and Wealth Management, and Global General Counsel at Barings. Sandie is an Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple in the United Kingdom and was recognised as Britain’s 5th most influential person of African and African Caribbean heritage by Power list. She holds Honorary Doctorates in Law from City University London, London Southbank University, and her alma mater, the University of Birmingham. Sandie was appointed to the Management Board and the Panel of Experts of The Hague-based Panel of Recognized International Market Experts in Finance and the Premier League Equality Standards Panel. She is Ambassador for the Law Society of England and Wales Diversity Access Scheme and served as President of the International Lawyers of Africa. Sandie received the Howard University 2019 Vanguard Women Award for her accomplishments as a woman of colour.


Sir Mark Rowley, Senior Police Officer (Retired)

Portrait of Sir Mark RowleyDuring his time as a Police Officer, Sir Mark Rowley was the Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations of the Metropolitan Police Service and the concurrent Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council Counter-Terrorism Coordination Committee and National Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing.  He was previously Chief Constable of Surrey Police, and also served as Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police (February to April 2017). He retired from the police in March 2018.  Sir Mark was knighted in the 2018 Birthday honours list for his “exceptional contribution to national security at a time of unprecedented threat and personally providing reassuring national leadership through the attacks of 2017”. Having retired from policing in 2018, Sir Mark has turned to new leadership challenges, with a continued focused on secure and thriving communities.


Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive Public Health England

Portrait of Duncan SelbieDuncan Selbie was the founding Chief Executive of Public Health England. Prior to 2013, he was Chief Executive of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals, the regional teaching hospital for the south east of England. From 2003 to 2007 he was the Director General of Programmes and Performance for the NHS and subsequently its first Director General of Commissioning. Prior to this, he was Chief Executive of South East London Strategic Health Authority and before that Chief Executive of the South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.


Rangita de Silva de Alwis, Associate Dean for International Affairs, University of Pennsylvania, Carey Law School

Portrait of Rangita de Silva de AlwisRangita de Silva de Alwis is a globally recognized international women’s rights expert. She serves as the Associate Dean of International Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania Law School where she teaches International Women’s Human Rights Law. Rangita is a women’s human rights scholar and practitioner with over 25 years of experience working globally in over 25 countries with a vast network of academic institutions, government, and nongovernment entities on women’s human rights law and policy making and institutional reform. She has advised UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA, and UNDP on state accountability under the relevant human rights treaties and the intersections of the different treaties and treaty bodies. She has lectured at Yale Law School and spoken around the world on gender based law reform. Rangita has a LL.M and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School and was a Teaching Fellow with the European Law Research Institute at Harvard Law School, a Research Fellow with the Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program. She was a Fulbright Specialist with the Asian University of Women, a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Wellesley College, and a Visiting Scholar at Wellesley Center for Women, a Salzburg Global Fellow and an Honorary Professor of China Women’s University.


Derek Southall, Founder and CEO Hyperscale Group Limited 

Portrait of Derek SouthallFounder and CEO of www.hyperscalegroup.com, Derek Southall, is a high profile figure in the legal technology, innovation, knowledge management and digital marketplaces and was recently described as the “Doyen of legal IT and Innovation”. Derek has spent nearly 25 years in a range of leading strategic roles for a top 50 global law firm, for most of this time as a Partner and Head of Strategic Development and subsequently as Head of Digital and Innovation. During this period Derek oversaw and helped drive turnover growth from £27mln to £450 mln+ both organically and by mergers and supporting expansion to 18 offices in 10 countries. Derek now owns an advisory and implementation business focussed on Strategy, Digital, Innovation and Technology. Hyperscale Group work for Major Corporates, Legal and Compliance Teams, Professional Services Firms, Technology Suppliers, Private Equity and Start-ups.


Leonard Stall, Media Entrepreneur and Author of ‘How to do Good’

Portrait of Leonard StallChairman of media group Touchline, and particularly active in the philanthropy sector. Leonard Stall was behind the launch of Philanthropy Age magazine, a grantee of the Gates Foundation, and is its Editor-in-Chief, he also leads Touchline’s landmark “How to do Good” book and global speaker tour. Together with Farahnaz Karim, the CEO of social enterprise Insaan, he initiated the work on the creation of an International Code of Practice for the Charity Sector, now being led by British Standards Institution (presented at the Paris Peace Forum in 2018). Leonard is a Consultant to the Norwegian Nobel Institute, and an Advisory Board member of Rosalynn Carter’s Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism in UAE, as well as being the Chairman of Trustees of UK publishing body ACE. In addition, he sits on the Editorial Board of Alliance magazine. In April 2019 he accepted an Honorary Doctorate from The University of Birmingham, where he completed his Bachelor’s Degree. He is also a former Press Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge and currently Chairman of Charity Futures, the organisation behind the Oxford Institute of Charity opening at New College Oxford University in autumn 2022.


Board Chair (Interim)

Prof Tim Softley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, University of Birmingham

Portrait of Prof Tim SoftleyTim Softley is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer.  As such his responsibilities are to lead the University’s research performance with the aim of positioning the University firmly amongst the leading research universities in the UK. He takes the lead role on preparing and the delivery of actions to enhance Birmingham’s position in the next REF, and on working to improve the University’s grant capture, including research funding from business and industry. As a member of the University Executive Board and the Strategic Planning and Resources Committee, he contributes to the broader leadership and direction of the University, and supports the Provost in academic planning matters including the annual planning and target-setting cycle. In the area of Knowledge Transfer, he is a Nominated Officer on University of Birmingham Enterprise Board, and represents the University on the WMCA Innovation Board and the Midlands Innovation PVC Board. He works with the Graduate School and the Postgraduate Dean to enhance the graduate research student experience and to facilitate recruitment of high quality graduate students. He is Chair of the Research Committee, the Research Ethics Integrity and Governance Committee, and the Academic IT Resources Group. Prof Softley is a Fellow of the Royal Society.


Board Secretary

David Evans, Head of Projects and Partnerships, Institute for Global Innovation, University of Birmingham

Portrait of David EvansDavid helps IGI researchers forge the connections they need to advance their research. David studied International Relations and Diplomacy, before working as a quantitative researcher in the private sector. David joined the University of Birmingham in 2010 where he specialises in research development.