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News > Old Girls' Association > Vivienne Parry OBE (Mills) HA 1976 has been appointed to the Board of UKRI

Vivienne Parry OBE (Mills) HA 1976 has been appointed to the Board of UKRI

"Saying yes to every opportunity" - the hallmark of a successful career. Vivienne, a prolific writer and broadcaster and on boards of charities and science innovation, recalls ALL her school options!
Receiving her OBE award at Buckingham Palace
Receiving her OBE award at Buckingham Palace

Vivienne Parry OBE (Mills) HA 1976 has recently been appointed as a Board member for UK Research and Innovation, and is Head of Engagement for Genomics England.
 
A presenter of Tomorrow’s World, and Trustee of the Diana Memorial Fund, Vivienne recalls taking every possible ex-curricular opportunity offered at St Swithun’s.
 


Vivienne Parry’s career has been diverse to say the least. 

I broke so much equipment during my science degree that I was begged not to do any more practicals, so despite my passion for science, a career as a scientist was out’. Her first job was running a mother and baby research charity, then called Birthright.  Shortly after joining, the Princess of Wales became its patron and for the next 12 years, Vivienne worked closely with her.  In her mid 30s, now with two boys, she decided to leave the charity and go into TV.  ‘I had no job to go to.  I just knew it was what I wanted to do’.  She answered an advert in the paper asking for ‘experience in communicating science’ and landed the job as a presenter of Britain’s iconic science show, Tomorrow’s World
 
In parallel Vivienne began a career in journalism.  She contributed features on medicine and science to almost every magazine and paper you can think of and was a columnist successively for The Guardian, News of the World (then Britain’s biggest selling tabloid) and The Times. She’s written a number of books too.  There were also stints as an agony aunt for Good Housekeeping and as a consumer columnist for Woman.
 
The death of the Princess of Wales saw Vivienne become a Trustee of the Diana Memorial Fund and by the late nineties, she had also established a career in radio, presenting many programmes for Radio 4 including 8 series of ‘Am I Normal’.  But there was another side of her life; public service. She became a Council member of the Medical Research Council and of UCL (yes, the very same place that had told her not to do practicals) where she became Vice Chair. 
 
Vivienne received an OBE in 2011 for services to the public understanding of science.  Today she has a part time role as Head of Engagement at Genomics England, which is delivering the 100,000 Genomes Project. She whizzes around the world hosting major scientific and medical events such as the G8 Dementia Summit as well as continuing to make films.  She is chair of the Cheltenham Science Festival and has recently joined the board of UKRI, the body that oversees the strategic spend of Britain’s £7billion research and innovation budget. 
 
Vivienne lives in the Cotswolds and is a super keen gardener, with a particular penchant for late flowering salvias, peonies and irises.
 
"When I was at St Swithun’s, I took every possible opportunity that was offered.  Drama, sport, singing, debating - if it was there I did it.  Saying yes to every opportunity, no matter how scary, has been the hallmark of my career too, so thank you for showing me what was possible."  
 
Congratulations, Vivienne, and we are very proud of your achievements and for your inspiration!  

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