Sir Richard Sykes appointed as Chair of the Vaccine Taskforce

Chairman of the Royal Institution, Sir Richard Sykes, has been appointed Chair of the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce it was announced today.

Tim Mitchell

The Vaccine Taskforce was established in March 2020, to bring together government, academia and industry in driving forward the development of a Coronavirus vaccine as quickly as possible.

Sir Richard will bring his considerable expertise in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, combined with leadership experience gained in high profile multi-national organisations. As well as being Chair of the Royal Institution, Sir Richard is also President of the Research and Development Society and Chancellor of Brunel University. He was previously Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline and conducted an independent review of the strategy and goals of the Vaccine Taskforce in December 2020.

Director of the Royal Institution, Lucinda Hunt, said: “This is a hugely important position. I know that Sir Richard will combine his considerable scientific expertise, with the leadership and drive necessary to ensure the Taskforce completes the current vaccine roll-out and develops a strategy to protect the UK from future variants of this virus, and indeed from future pandemics.”

Sir Richard said: I’m delighted to be joining a brilliant team to continue its incredibly important work on the COVID-19 vaccination programme. I am determined to make sure the UK remains in the best possible position to beat this virus and has the tools it needs to respond to future public health threats.”

Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “The Vaccine Taskforce has done a tremendous job of securing the world’s first clinically-proven vaccines for COVID-19 and it’s fantastic that Sir Richard will be joining our renowned team with his extensive expertise.

“I look forward to working closely with him going forward to ensure the COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to save lives and the country is well prepared for any health threats for years to come.”

According to the Government’s latest figures, over 41 million people in the UK have received a first dose of a Coronavirus vaccine, while more than 29 million have received two doses.


For more information please contactRobert Davies in the Ri press office:+44 (0)20 7670 2991 /