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Mark Gillan

Mark Gillan

Associate Vice President, Technologies and Special Projects, National Transformation Institute, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

Prof Mark Gillan is Associate Vice President of Technologies and Special Projects, in the National Transformation Institute (NTI), at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Mark leads a circa 1B$ portfolio that includes a diverse range of projects, from the world’s largest coral reef restoration initiative at Shushah Island, in collaboration with NEOM, to Cryogenic Carbon Capture, to KAUST SMART, which has a sustainability and integrated multimodal transport focus. The portfolio includes a number of embryonic opportunities, all aimed at accelerating impact.

Mark studied Aeronautical Engineering at Queens’ University of Belfast, obtaining a First Class Honours Degree in 1990, followed by a Doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering at Queens, in 1993. Throughout his studies he was sponsored by Short Brothers (Bombardier). Mark is both a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Chartered Engineer. Mark has written 37 peer reviewed Journal and Conference papers and led a mixture of UK and EU funded programmes, securing over GBP100M in competitive grant funding.

He has held various engineering leadership roles within industry, elite sports, academia and the public sector. In over a decade in F1 he was Chief Race Engineer for both Jaguar/Red Bull and Williams race teams.

In academia he held the inaugural Sir George Edwards Chair in Aerospace Engineering, at the University of Surrey. As CTO of the UK’s Innovation Agency, Innovate UK, Mark ran both the Strategy and Impact and the Centres and Networks Governance Directorates, that included oversight of the UK’s extensive Catapult Network and governance oversight of an annual operating budget of GBP350M and 5,000 staff.

Mark was also Chief Executive of Wave Power Ltd, Director at the US Company MTS Systems, leading their Advanced Technology and Motorsports Group, Chief Operations Officer for Artemis Technologies (ex-America’s Cup Sailing Team) and Belfast Digital Innovation Commissioner.

Immediately prior to joining KAUST, Mark was Head of R&D at the UK’s National Air Traffic Services (NATS), leading on a variety of airspace projects, including the UK’s largest funded AI project, called BlueBird, working in collaboration with the Alan Turing Institute, aimed at delivering the world’s first AI system to work with air traffic controllers and to control a section of airspace, in live trials.

Mark is also a Visiting Professor of both Surrey and Ulster Universities.