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New Director of Science, Research and Evidence will help lead NIHR

Published: 31 May 2022


The NIHR is pleased to announce that Dr Gail Marzetti has been appointed Director of the Science, Research and Evidence (SRE) directorate in the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), taking over the role previously held by Dr Louise Wood. As such, Dr Marzetti will lead the NIHR under the direction of Prof Lucy Chappell, Chief Scientific Adviser to DHSC and Chief Executive of the NIHR. 

Dr Marzetti is a senior civil servant with 25 years of experience across a range of policy areas. She joined DHSC in March 2020 and is currently Director of Refugees and Head of International Workforce. Prior to this she worked for the Department for International Development (DfID) for over 20 years. This included 6 years as one of the team that established DfID’s Research and Evidence Division, putting evidence at the heart of policy and programmes. More recently she was head of DfID Myanmar, leading the UK response to the Rohingya crisis, and before that head of DfID Nepal.

Dr Louise Wood has been in the DHSC since 2005 and played an instrumental role alongside Dame Sally Davies and Sir Chris Whitty in establishing the NIHR as one of UK’s leading funders of health and care research. She has helped to lead the organisation with great integrity and passion, having watched it grow from inception. 

Minister for Innovation, Lord Kamall, said:

“Research is crucial to transforming our health service and ensuring the NHS is able to deliver world-class care.

“It has been vital in our fight against Covid 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.”

Professor Lucy Chappell, Chief Executive of the NIHR and Chief Scientific Adviser at DHSC, 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 deliver the strategic aims of NIHR, focusing on improving care and outcomes for patients and the public, and tackling inequalities across health and care.”

Dr Gail Marzetti, incoming Director of Science, Research and Evidence, 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.” 

Dr Louise Wood leaves DHSC in June 2022 and Dr Gail Marzetti will take up her role in July.


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