Dr James McCafferty, BSc (Hons) PhD FBCS CITP C.Eng.

Chief Information Officer

James is the Chief Information Officer at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. His role covers IT strategy, delivery and operations to support the goals of the Institute. This encompasses research IT, research data, research software/informatics, enterprise applications, enterprise IT and information security.

Throughout my working career I have enjoyed working in commercial, higher education and research sectors to bring about digital transformation and business change. Here, at the Sanger Institute, I particularly enjoy the fact that the value my team brings to the work of the Institute helps to generate knowledge and insights that benefit society. The systems, workflows and infrastructure that Informatics and Digital Solutions provide enable Sanger’s scientists make discoveries that helping to change conservation work, guiding clinical practice and discovering new treatments.

So much of the business of science – from administration and funding, through sample management and wet lab experimentation, to storage and computational analysis and sharing results – are increasingly dependent on IT. I am proud that the systems my teams create, deliver and run allow the Institute to run projects and research pipelines at a scale that are providing fresh insights into child development, cancer and COVID-19, to name but a few.

However, I believe that Informatics and Digital Solutions are also able to play an active role in helping our scientists plan and deliver their bold and ambitious science. Through horizon scanning and working in partnership with Sanger’s scientists, we seek to open up the horizons of possibility by bringing new ideas, technologies and new ways of working to the table.

By identifying and embracing leading-edge approaches to computing, analysis, data storage and sharing, we seek to maximise value knowledge and best practice across the whole Institute.  This includes not only the digital tools to support the Sanger’s science, also to help provide the digital tools to do the science. My teams are continually looking to exploit the opportunities that automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning offer to conduct science at scale.

To ensure that Informatics and Digital Solutions provides the best possible service to our scientists, I encourage all my colleagues develop their skills and knowledge through training and conferences. I see my role as inspiring people and helping to set the direction and goals for the department, but I also think it is vitally important to give people the space they need to freely use their skills and knowledge.

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