Science Foundation Ireland appoints New Director General

The Board of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has appointed Professor Mark Ferguson as Director General of the organisation. Professor Ferguson, a native of Northern Ireland, will take up the position on January 16th 2012. The appointment is for a five-year term.

A leading academic for thirty years, Professor Ferguson is also a co-founder of Renovo, a biotechnology company developing novel pharmaceutical therapies to prevent scarring and accelerate wound healing.

Welcoming Prof. Ferguson's appointment, Prof. Pat Fottrell, Chairperson of SFI, said 'The SFI Board is delighted, following an extensive international recruitment process that commenced last year, to appoint Prof. Ferguson as Director General. Prof. Ferguson's track record over the past three decades has been one of continued excellence in both the academic and commercial spheres, and his arrival marks the start of a new stage in SFI's journey.'

Commenting on his appointment, Prof. Ferguson stated: 'We live in exciting times for science, where endeavour and ingenuity are making a notable impact on the world around us. Through determination, sustained investment and the convergence of expertise across scientific, engineering and commercial disciplines, Ireland has leaped up the international rankings for its quality of research output. I am relishing the opportunity of working closely with SFI's Board, staff, esteemed research community, commercial and other partners, to help continue this level of progress and influence. I am passionate about science, its commercial exploitation and its societal and economic benefits.'

Born in Northern Ireland, Prof. Ferguson is a graduate of Queens University of Belfast with degrees in Dentistry (BDS 1st class honours), Anatomy and Embryology (BSc 1st class honours, PhD) and Medical Sciences (DMedSc). He holds Fellowships from the Royal Colleges of Surgeons in Ireland (FFD) and Edinburgh (FDS) and is a Founding Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedSci).

Prof. Mark Ferguson was appointed Professor in Life Sciences at the University of Manchester in 1984, at the age of just 28. He is current Honorary Professor of Life Sciences at the University. His research interests include cellular and molecular mechanisms in scarring and wound healing, developmental mechanisms in normal and cleft palate formation, alligator and crocodile biology. He is the discoverer of scar free embryonic wound healing and temperature dependent sex determination in alligators and crocodiles. Prof. Ferguson is the recipient of numerous international awards, prizes, medals and honours for his research.

Prof. Mark Ferguson - Additional Biographical Details

  • Author of 325 research papers and book chapters, 8 books and 60 patent families.
  • He has delivered hundreds of plenary lectures at international scientific conferences and has been a regular contributor to television and radio programmes.
  • Particular interest in translating scientific research findings into successful commercial entities.
  • He founded the Manchester Biosciences Incubator, which has successfully mentored and housed a number of start-up companies.
  • He co-founded Renovo (, a biopharmaceutical product company and leader in the discovery and development of drugs to reduce scarring, improve wound healing and enhance tissue regeneration.
  • Former President of the European Tissue Repair Society, he has chaired the first UK Government's Health and Life Sciences Foresight Panel, and served on many committees (e.g. UKTI Life Sciences Marketing Board, Committee of Safety of Medicines Biological Subcommittee and European Space Agency).
  • He has served on the Board of a number of international biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies
  • Made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth in 1999 for services to Health and Life Sciences.