The translation of scientific discovery into economic and health benefit has been the driving force behind David Cooksey’s working life. He recognised that this can only be achieved with a high quality science infrastructure populated by world-class scientists.
He was a founder of the UK Venture Capital industry in 1981, when he persuaded Government to introduce incentives for risk investments in early stage technology and life sciences companies. Following his appointment as a Governor of the Wellcome Trust, he persuaded his fellow governors to work alongside Government to offer University Challenge Seed Funds to provide on-campus proof-of-principle funding. This was followed by the Joint Infrastructure Fund (JIF), a major initiative to improve universities’ scientific research infrastructure. The largest JIF investment was in the Diamond Light Source synchrotron accelerator which Cooksey chaired from inception to full operation.
In 2003, he chaired the Biosciences Innovation & Growth Taskforce whose report triggered the formation of NIHR to secure well-funded clinical research in the NHS and universities. Then, in 2006, he led the Cooksey Review of Medical Research Funding which challenged the accepted translation pathways, secured substantial additional medical research funding and led to the formation of the Francis Crick Institute. He chaired the Crick from initial concept to complete delivery.
Founding Chair, Diamond Light Source Ltd, Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Founding Chair, The Francis Crick Institute