William Cullerne Bown, founder and executive chairman of *Research is one of the world’s leading authorities on the relationship between scientific knowledge and the shaping of public policy.
He has a first-class degree in mathematics from Warwick University and he created the company following a career navigating the cloisters of academia, Fleet Street watering holes and the corridors of Whitehall.
For four years William worked as a reporter in the founding team of The Independent newspaper as a reporter, before moving to New Scientist magazine where he was policy editor until 1994.
By the early 1990s it became clear to him that the research world was changing. The old certainties of funding were no more, as more researchers chased a limited pot of funds. Partly in response, universities were having to professionalise their management and administration. The age of the gentleman scholar-manager running a department between field trips, was giving way to the office of the full-time director for research.
Research Fortnight was launched in 1994 providing news, comment and analysis on the business of knowledge and uncovering the myriad links between science and policy. Our “newspaper for the research world” also included a section of listings promising “every new opportunity in every discipline, every fortnight”. Research Europe followed in 1996, and soon after came Onderzoek Nederland and Research Africa – all in print.
And then came technology: the central role played by universities in the development of the worldwide web made it the ideal platform to provide information services to universities. In 2001, our (now daily) news and funding opportunities were available to universities across the world at the click of a mouse thanks to the launch of *Research Professional.
William speaks at public events, provides commentary for the media and more general advice to universities.