James Chaffer has been appointed as Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Science Park Association (UKSPA). James will join UKSPA on 4 January 2022 following the retirement of Jim Duvall who leaves after fourteen years at the Association. 

James is currently Operations Director at the University of Nottingham Innovation Park (UNIP), where he manages 100,000 square feet of dedicated space for growing technology companies, having previously worked for 24 years in the digital sector, primarily providing bespoke management software solutions to science parks. James also served previously as a Board member of UKSPA from 2011-2017. Talking about his new role James said:

 “The last two years have demonstrated the national importance of rapid scientific and technological innovation, along with the underlying ecosystems that nurture these activities.  I am delighted to be joining UKSPA at a time of enormous opportunity to increase both the reach and impact of the Association and its members. 

“UKSPA currently has the highest membership level in its history, which will provide tremendous opportunities to advance the twin goals of delivering enhanced member services and further raising the profile of the sector, highlighting the importance of innovation locations to current and future economic policies.”

Ben Sumner, Director of Engagement and Partnerships at the University of Nottingham and UNIP Director, commented that:

 “We are sorry to see James leave UNIP but we are proud that he has been chosen to lead the UK’s national association for science parks and innovation locations. We look forward to working with James and UKSPA as we develop our Zero Carbon Innovation Cluster on our Jubilee Campus and bring forward plans for innovation space on our recently acquired Nottingham City Centre Castle Meadow Campus.”

UKSPA Chair Professor Patrick Bonnett commented:

“On behalf of UKSPA I’m delighted to welcome James as our new Chief Executive. He brings a wealth of expertise and experience which will be of enormous value to the Association. Growing innovating businesses is key to a strong, sustainable and competitive UK economy. Spread across all four nations, our members make an enormous contribution to the economic prosperity of the UK, addressing societal challenges and our standing as a global innovation superpower.

“James’ appointment will enable us to continue to contribute in these nationally important areas and, working with our members and partners, help deliver a step change in the impact that science and innovation makes to society”.

Professor Bonnett also recognised the contribution of the retiring Executive Director, Jim Duvall, saying “we are all tremendously grateful for everything Jim has done for UKSPA not only in his current role as Executive Director but during his 14 years with UKSPA. Jim has not only been a bedrock during the uncertain times of the Covid pandemic but has been instrumental in driving the growth in membership over recent years. He has also been instrumental in bringing forward new initiatives to increase diversity and inclusivity in the organisation as well as developing a stronger research and policy agenda. We wish him all the best for a happy and well-deserved retirement.