University of Southampton’s Philip Nelson will replace David Delpy as head of the funding body

The next chief executive of the UK’s main chemistry funding body will be Philip Nelson, currently pro-vice chancellor of the University of Southampton.  Nelson is a professor of acoustics and heads up Southampton’s institute of sound and vibration. He will join the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on secondment in April. 

Nelson replaces David Delpy who oversaw a period of upheaval at the research council, including funding cuts, which alienated many chemists from the organisation. Delpy came in for particular criticism over the EPSRC’s policy of ‘black listing’ researchers with low grant success rates and for its controversial shaping capability programme that some scientists saw as ‘picking winners’ in scientific disciplines. 

In a statement, Nelson said: ‘I feel greatly honoured to have been chosen for such an important national role. I am looking forward to working with colleagues across the research disciplines to ensure the continued health of the UK’s world-class science base upon which so much of our future prosperity depends.’