Leading education academic and parliamentary adviser Professor Becky Francis will lead the Institute of Education (IoE) from July, it has been announced.
Prof Francis will start her new job as director of the leading research organisation, which is part of University College London, on July 1 after almost four years as professor of education and social justice and director of research at King’s College London’s department of education.
It also follows her stint as an adviser to the education select committee, during which she has provided counsel for MPs as they examined key issues such as the role of regional schools commissioners and teacher supply.
She is the permanent replacement for former director Chris Husbands, who moved on to become vice-chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University in January.
Prof Francis, a former director of Pearson PLC, said she was “delighted” with the opportunity to lead “the most prestigious education institution in the world”.
She said: “The merger with UCL has enhanced the Institute’s already world-leading reputation, and I look forward to working with staff and students to deliver on the next stage of our ambitious plans.”
At King’s, her research has focused on social identities and educational inequalities. Her policy research and analysis includes her recent work on “satisfactory” schools and on academies.
Before she joined King’s, Prof Francis was also a director of the Pearson think tank and served as director of education for the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).
IoE interim director Professor Andrew Brown described the appointment as “exciting”.
He said: “Becky will bring energy and an outstanding record on engagement with policy and practitioner communities, as well as valuable leadership experience within and beyond academia – all of which will serve the IOE well in the next phase of its development.”