The government has appointed Dr Gail Marzetti as the new Director of Science, Research and Evidence, taking over from Dr Louise Wood.
Dr Marzetti will report to Professor Lucy Chappell, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Chief Executive of the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR).
The Director of Science, Research and Evidence helps steer the NIHR in the right direction and Dr Marzetti will bring a wealth of experience, including a background of research funding and a vested interest in the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalised into research.
Professor Lucy Chappell said: “This is an exciting new chapter for NIHR.”
“Louise will be hugely missed, but I am confident Dr Marzetti brings with her a wealth of experience with a background in research funding and an interest in underserved communities. She will be well placed to help deliver the strategic aims of NIHR, focusing on improving care and outcomes for patients and the public, and tackling inequalities across health and care.”
Health research was, and still is, absolutely pivotal in tackling Covid-19, with the health sector still trying to recover from the pandemic-induced backlog.
The NIHR co-founded the research for dexamethasone – the first effective treatment for Covid-19. In addition to this, the NIHR has reported over 6,500 cases in the last 10 years, where their research has been the influence behind health and care policies or the changing of practice and guidelines.
Minister for Innovation, Lord Kamall, said: “Health and care research is crucial to transform our health service and ensure the NHS is able to deliver world-class care.
“It has been vital in our fight against Covid-19 and in saving thousands of lives – whether through the rapid creation of vaccines or the identification of life-saving treatments like dexamethasone.
“I want to thank and pay tribute to Dr Louise Wood for her incredible work and leadership. I know Dr Gail Marzetti will build on Dr Woods’ contribution, working alongside Professor Lucy Chappell to ensure the UK remains a world-leader in diverse, ground-breaking research.”
Prior to joining the DHSC in 2020, Dr Marzetti worked at the Department of International Development (DfID) for more than two decades, with her work including leading the UK’s response to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and establishing the DfID’s Research and Evidence Division.
Dr Gail Marzetti said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the leadership of NIHR and once again working in the field of research and evidence. So many of NIHR’s strategic priorities are about inclusion and health inequalities, topics close to my heart, and I’m excited to bring my experience to bear both on NIHR’s national work and on its work in low and middle income countries.
“I look forward to collaborating with colleagues across the health and care research sector to help NIHR deliver against its vital mission.”
More information about the appointment is available here.