Olivia Harrison Announced as Society’s Next Chief Executive

The Learned Society of Wales is delighted to announce that Olivia Harrison will be its new Chief Executive. 

Olivia is currently Head of Research, Innovation and Engagement at the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and will take up her position in February 2022. 

Olivia said: 

“Having worked alongside the Learned Society of Wales for several years, I am delighted to be joining at this exciting time for the Society.

“I am passionate about the value of higher education to our nation and look forward to working with Professor Thomas, the Society’s Fellows and the team to build on LSW’s excellent work and bring even greater benefit to Wales.” 

Olivia trained and worked as a chartered structural engineer in London before moving into higher education policy in Wales. Starting in public affairs at Universities Wales and moving into research policy, Olivia has rapidly become recognised as an expert in the area of research and innovation policy on the UK higher education stage.

Her current role includes overseeing the policy design and implementation of over £100m of research and innovation funding per year to Welsh universities.  

Professor Hywel Thomas, President of the Society, said: 

“We are thrilled to have appointed Olivia. 

“Throughout the appointment process, we were struck by her wealth of experience in, and commitment to, the world of Welsh Higher Education.  

“Olivia’s insight into the policy environment, including the Tertiary Education and Research Bill, her knowledge of Wales’ research culture and priorities and her vision for developing the Learned Society’s role make her a perfect fit at an important time in our development.  

“We are excited by this appointment and look forward to welcoming Olivia in the new year.”