Professor William Pope (SSI)

Visiting Professor of Bio-enterprise & Health

Research Directorate

Visiting Professor of Bio-enterprise & Health

Professor William Pope has a wealth of experience, leadership and expertise gained from senior roles within industry, the NHS and academia, including at chairman and chief executive level. He has significant experience of working with world-leading companies and organisations including BAE Systems, the BBC, BIS, BP, Ford, GlaxoSmithKline, Huawei, the NHS and Unilever, and was Chief Executive Officer of the UK’s largest integrated health, safety and environmental business for 10 years. He has been one of the UK’s leaders in managing and developing environmental technology companies over the last 35 years, and is a four times winner of the “Technology Fast 50” awards for the fastest growing companies. He has won numerous business, environmental excellence, bioscience and innovative biotechnology awards (such as the Oxford Innovation & Science Oxford M&AW Excellence in Business and Innovation Award (2009), Best Early-stage Biotech Company Award (2010) with Oxford Bioscience Network, and the national Edie Environmental Excellence Award (2011)). He was awarded “Business Innovation Support Person of the Year” (2008) by the SPARC Technology Network.

Some would categorise him as a serial entrepreneur, having started up, developed or grown and then successfully exited 6 businesses so far (1995-2014), and remaining invested currently in a further 2 start-ups, one being an Oxford University science area spin-out for which he has raised £5m from investors, and with a 3rd currently in the development pipeline). The total exits valuation achieved currently exceeds £80m at an average multiplier of x5.

Amongst other appointments he was previously director & Chairman of the East of England Regional Development Agency (2006-2012) and Northamptonshire & Milton Keynes Primary Care Trusts (2006-2013), and is now Chairman of the Board at Y&H Academic Health Science Partners (2014-date), a Board member then Chair of the University of Suffolk (formerly University Campus Suffolk) (2014-2021), Chairman of Healthwatch Northamptonshire (2013-date) and is a Board member (now Vice Chairman) of East Midlands Pathology (2012-date).

He is a Visiting Professor of Business and Environment at the University of the West of England and at University of Suffolk is Professor of Bio-enterprise and Health. Amongst other interests he was a co-founder of the Centre for Health & Wellbeing Research at the University of Northampton (2008-2013), is current Chairman of the Environmental Policy Forum (2011-date), a board member of the Technology Strategy Board’s Sustainability & Resource Efficiency KTN (2012-date) and Unity Leisure (2011-date). He is a past member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Sustainability, Health and Environment (2009-2014), and a past Chairman of the Society for the Environment and the Institution of Environmental Sciences, where he is currently Vice President. He was a member of SEEDA’s MK Enterprise Hub steering board (2005-2008) and as a SEEDA Merlin Mentor focussed on the developing of health, safety & environmental technologies and companies, and also mentoring those in the process of developing companies in these and other industrial sectors including communications, media, manufacturing, distribution and retail.

He was Chairman of the MSc Environmental Consulting Steering Group at the University of the West of England (2004-2008) where he was also a member of the Vice Chancellor’s Review Group on Employer Engagement (2005-2006) and continues to teach a Business Module to MSc students (2004-date). A member of the Post-graduate Programme Advisory Group for the Integrated Waste Management Programme at Cranfield University (2005-2008), in the past he has also has taught at Imperial College, City University, University of Plymouth, Middlesex University and the Open University, as well as UWE, and has lectured on environmental business issues at overseas institutions throughout Europe, and in the USA, South Africa, Malaysia, China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

In parallel with his business activities Will is also a leader in the professional arena; he was a founder director of The Society for the Environment (1999), and became the Society’s first Chairman (2001-2005), remaining a director today. Under his leadership the Society gained the support of senior politicians, civil servants and the regulators, and petitioned Her Majesty the Queen and the Privy Council for a Royal Charter (2003, granted 2004). The Society now has constituent bodies with an international professional membership approaching 500,000 individuals, and has issued the new qualification Chartered Environmentalist (“CEnv”) to over 8,000 individually scrutinised and qualified chartered professionals in the environmental industries both in the UK and internationally.

He is Vice President (2005-date) of the charity the Institution of Environmental Sciences, having been a Council Member and Trustee of the Institution (1992-date) and was Chairman of the Institution (1999-2002). He is a former member of the Board of the Science Council (2000-2003) and the DEFRA/DTI Environmental Innovations Advisory Group (2003-2008), and was a member of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (2005-2008) and the Science and Industry Council of the East of England (2007-2010).

Will was educated at St. Mary’s College, the University of Plymouth - where he was awarded the honour of “Best Student” by Prince Charles (1976) - and Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of London; he has a 1st class honours degree in Environmental Science (1976), and is a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv 2004). He is a Fellow of the Institution of Environmental Sciences.

He has acted as an expert witness, appearing in both the High Court and at Public Enquiry, and he has also appeared on TV and radio commenting on environmental affairs, the most notable being on ITV’s “TV Eye”, and an appearance on the BBC’s “Newsnight” during the “dioxins from incinerators” debate.