The Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, appointed Professor Ferguson-Smith to the post.
Michelle Donelan said: "Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith’s appointment is great news for UK bioscience, which is delivering transformative discoveries that will benefit our country and beyond – from creating new life-saving vaccines to developing sustainable food production.
"The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is a key funder and driving force of this world-leading sector and Professor Ferguson-Smith’s experience will be a major asset in building on that work to support a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future."
Professor Ferguson-Smith, a developmental geneticist and epigeneticist, and currently Arthur Balfour Professor of Genetics at the University, is a member of the BBSRC Council, an elected member of EMBO, a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, and a Fellow of the Royal Society.
A Fellow of Darwin College, she was appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and International Partnerships from January 2022, having been Acting PVC for Research since January 2021, following the death of Professor Chris Abell in October 2020. Professor Ferguson-Smith was this year made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Biomedical Research.
UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said: "I am delighted by the appointment of Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith as BBSRC’s new Executive Chair. Professor Ferguson-Smith is an inspiring leader who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role.
"I am deeply grateful to Professor Guy Poppy for his excellent service as BBSRC’s interim Executive Chair. His leadership of BBSRC and on the UKRI Executive Committee has been greatly appreciated."
Professor Ferguson-Smith said: "It’s a privilege to be chosen for such an important role, and to be able to champion the BBSRC’s research strategy in alignment with national and global challenges. I’ve been supported by and been working within the BBSRC for a number of years now in a range of contexts, so I’m delighted I will be leading such a connected and effective community, with such a strong legacy created by the previous Executive Chair.
"I’m looking forward to working within UKRI to support talent development and end-to-end impactful research, from discovery to application. I will be connecting with ministers and other partners to drive an ambitious national agenda in research innovation."
Professor Deborah Prentice, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Cambridge, said: "I am thrilled that Anne has been appointed as Executive Chair of the BBSRC. The appointment underscores what those of us who have worked with her know so well – her personal experience in excellent research, her deep knowledge of the wider research sector, and her ability to bring together colleagues across many fields in pursuit of an institution’s strategic needs. She will be a boon to the BBSRC, and to the UK’s research and innovation landscape more widely, and we are all immensely proud of her."
Professor Ferguson-Smith will take up post as BBSRC’s Executive Chair on 1 July 2024.