Sir John O’Reilly is Chairman of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) of Singapore and a visiting Professor at University College London in the UK, roles he combines in a portfolio with a number of other part-time non-executive and advisory positions. He served previously a two year term as Director General of Knowledge and Innovation for UK government with oversight and funding responsibility for the Research Base, Innovation and Higher Education. Prior to that he was Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University (2006-2013). Earlier academic appointments include Chair of Telecommunications and Head of Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at UCL, Professor and Head of Department of Electronic Engineering and Computer Systems at Bangor University and Head of Telecommunication Systems at Essex University. His personal research has been in the broad field of information and communications technology, including in particular optical fiber and radio over fiber systems and technology, information theory and coding. He is the author of some 350+ research publications.
His experience of research policy, planning, management and evaluation, in addition to his current position as Chairman of SERC for A*STAR, includes serving as Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in the UK, chair of Systems and Communication Engineering for the European Research Council and as chair for Communications and Distributed Systems for the DTI and member of the UK’s Information Technology Advisory Board.
Appointments outside academia include periods with Ultra Electronics Ltd and with British Telecommunications plc where he was Principal Research Fellow at BT Laboratories. In the ‘small and medium enterprise’ arena he was Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman of IDB Ltd and chairman of CAST Ltd. He is active in the profession with the Royal Academy of Engineering (former member of council and chair of membership committee); the Institution of Engineering and Technology (former President and member of Trustee Board, currently search and selection committee chair for the IET A F Harvey Engineering Research Prize); IEEE (former member of Editorial Board for IEEE Transactions on Communications, Vice-chair International Symposium on Information Theory, currently member Awards Board and chair of Recognitions Council); ERA Foundation Ltd. (Director and Board member). He received the J J Thompson medal of the IEE for his contributions to Electronic Engineering (2004) and a Knighthood (2007) for his contributions to research.