Board of trustees

Indi Seehra (Chairman) 


Indi Seehra is Director of Human Resources at the London School of Economics and Political Science.  Until May 2014, he headed up Human Resources

at the University of Cambridge.  He is a Fellow of the Judge Business School at Cambridge and a visiting lecturer at two Institutions in India. 

Indi held a number of significant private and public sector appointments including HR Director of the Crown Prosecution Service and subsequently the Serious Organised Crime Agency (now NCA).  He is a non-Executive Director with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (in England) and has remained involved with respective EU Task Groups looking to overcome the barriers to mobility for Researchers.  He is a regular speaker on Leadership and Organisational Behaviour - with speaking engagements during 2014 in India, Moscow and Austria.


Drs Astrid Wissenburg

The Director, Research, Scholarship and Quality works with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor across his responsibilities for the strategic development of research and scholarship across the University's faculties and institutes, and the quality assurance and enhancement of the University's taught programmes.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Research strategy and governance
  • Innovation and enterprise
  • Research grants and contracts
  • Research degrees
  • Affiliated Research Centres
  • Quality assurance and enhancement of taught programmes
  • Scholarship strategy and development
  • Academic career development
  • The Knowledge Media Institute
  • The Institute of Educational Technology
  • Local and regional relationships


Astrid has held a variety of posts in her career, all with an underlying commitment to make knowledge and research accessible and usable, as widely as possible. Astrid joined the OU from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), where she was Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Partnerships and Communications.  Astrid was responsible for the strategic direction of the ESRC's knowledge exchange, evaluation and impact initiatives; relationships with partners (business, government, third sector); external communications; and information and knowledge management. Astrid also led for the Research Councils UK on its economic and societal impact strategy, and on open access to research information.

Prior to ESRC, Astrid worked at King's College London (KCL) where she held posts as Assistant Director (Information Resources), managed a JISC research project on models for hybrid libraries, and was part of the Arts and Humanities Data Service. Her early career included appointments at Glasgow and Leiden University (The Netherlands) in the fields of computer-based learning and applied information management for historical research. Astrid holds a degree in contemporary international history from the University of Nijmegen, a postgraduate certificate in information technology from the University of Leiden, and a Master of Public Administration from Warwick Business School.


Professor David Gani, BSc DPhil CChem FRSC FRSE

As Senior Associate and until recently, Deputy Principal at Strathclyde, Professor Gani's responsibilities have included providing corporate academic leadership in shaping and implementing the University's strategies in external engagement, reputation management, marketing, internationalisation and advancement. He has played a leading role in Researcher Development across the University and in Scotland and more specifically in Doctoral Education at UK and European Levels.

He has worked with key external stakeholders including funding councils, the Scottish and UK governments, businesses, the voluntary sector and other universities to build Strathclyde's reputation as a technological university of international standing. He has cultivated relationships with partners nationally and internationally, and particularly within the EU, the Gulf States, USA, Africa, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.

Professor Gani currently represents the University on the Board of the European Consortium of Innovative Universities (ECIU) and

has been particularly active in engaging with the EU Commissions and with MEPs on "Innovation Union", “Horizon 2020” and the "Modernisation Agenda".

David joined Strathclyde in December 2009 after almost eight years as director of research, innovation and global engagement at the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). While there, he led the development of research pools, driving forward the SFC's investment in research alliances to create a competitive edge for Scotland in world-leading research. He also pioneered the Council's innovative approach to the funding of knowledge exchange between universities, business and the public sector.

Prior to joining the Council, he held senior academic posts in chemistry at the universities of Southampton, St Andrews and Birmingham. As a result of his research in organic and medicinal chemistry he received many awards becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1993.

David currently serves as Chief Executive and Science Director for Glasgow City of Science, is the Executive Chairman of the Research Pool ScotCHEM and until recently served as Chair of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education.

David is a keen guitar player and song writer who also enjoys cooking. He has grown-up daughters and a young son and four grand children. 

Professor John Wood

Professor John Wood CBE, FREng is the Secretary-General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and visiting professor of materials at Imperial College London and an honorary professor of nanotechnology at University College, London. He graduated from Sheffield University in metallurgy followed by Cambridge University for his Ph.D.) where he subsequently stayed on as Goldsmith's Research Fellow at Churchill College. In 1994 he was awarded a higher doctorate from Sheffield and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Cluj-Napoca in Romania where he is also a "citizen of honour". He has held several academic posts at the Open University, Nottingham University and Imperial College. From 2001‐2007 he was appointed chief executive of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils.. During this period he was a visiting professor at Oxford University and still remains a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford.

He is a non‐executive director of a number of companies including Bio‐Nano Consulting and sits on the advisory board of the British Library. He chairs the boards of Oxceta and Research Information Network. He was on the board of the Joint Information Services Committee responsible for the UK academic computing network and chairs their Support for Research Committee. He is also involved with a number of charities including acting as chair of INASP.

He was a founder member of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures and became chair in 2004 where he was responsible for producing the first European Roadmap.  He became the first chair of the European Research Area Board in 2008-11"  He remains a member of the European Commission's  European Research and Innovation Research Area board. He chaired the Commission's High Level Group on the future of Scientific Data producing the influential report "Riding the Wave."

He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1999 He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2007 for "services to science,"  and in 2010 was made an "Officer of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany"


Dr Mary Phillips

Mary Phillips read Physiology at UCL and undertook her doctoral studies in Physiology at Oxford University, where she continued as an academic teacher and researcher until joining the Wellcome Trust in 1989. At the Trust she managed a number of funding Panels, including latterly the International Biomedical Programme. In addition, from 1994 until 2004 she was a Fellow and pre-clinical tutor at Merton College Oxford. In 2004 she joined UCL as Director of Research Planning for Biomedicine and in 2007 she became UCL's first Director of Research Planning. From 2009 to 2011 she was also seconded (on a part-time basis) to the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) to establish and lead their Global Chronic Disease Programme.  Mary retired in October 2011 but from retirement till June 2015 she consulted part-time as Senior Academic Adviser, for a small US-based company, Academic Analytics, which provides universities with metrics to assess research excellence. Mary was also a Trustee of the Daphne Jackson Trust, which enables scientists, mostly women, to return to research after a career break, from 2011 till April 2016.

Mary is married to Professor Graham Richards, retired as Chairman of Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Mary has two daughters and a son and six grand-children as well as two step sons and four step grand-children.

Her main hobby is art - watercolour, life drawing and her particular enthusiasm, print-making