A NEW head of Daresbury Laboratory has been appointed.

The Science and Technology Facilities Council has handed the role to its current executive director of business and innovation Paul Vernon.

He will replace Professor Susan Smith in the position, which she has held since 2012, upon her retirement in November.

STFC executive chair Professor Mark Thomson said: “As executive director of business and innovation, Paul is already playing a critical role in helping STFC shape and deliver a business and innovation strategy.

"Now, also as head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, Paul will lead Daresbury Laboratory as it continues its mission to strengthen and grow its relationship with academia and industry.”

Mr Vernon worked for the STFC between 2002 and 2014 before returning to the council in July this year.

He said: “I am honoured and excited to take up this opportunity as head of the STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, home to world leading science and innovation in the UK and to successful collaborations with both national and international academic partners.

"Daresbury Laboratory has gone from strength to strength over the last few years, and is a key part of the successful Sci-Tech Daresbury campus.

"Having previously headed up campus development here at the STFC, I am thoroughly looking forward to working closely with our partners to connect with researchers, innovators and businesses across the north west and the UK.”

Professor Smith, who is also director of the STFC's accelerator science and technology division, added: "It has been both a pleasure and an honour to be head of the STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory for the past eight years.

"I have known and worked with Paul for many years, and know that he will continue to lead the laboratory to great success in the future."