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Digital Catapult appoints three new Non-Executive Directors to its Board

Posted 25 Nov 2022

Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, has announced the appointment of three new Non-Executive Directors to its Board who will take up their roles in November 2022. With these appointments, Digital Catapult will have a women-majority Board, comprised of six women and five men, in line with the organisation’s efforts to achieve greater equality, diversity and inclusion at all levels.

  • Jessica Cecil is the Founder of the Trusted News Initiative (TNI) and a former BBC Chief of Staff to four Directors-General.
  • Belinda Howell is the Founder & Managing Director of strategic sustainability consultancy Decarbonize Limited.
  • Yvonne Rogers is the Director of the Interaction Centre at UCL (UCLIC), deputy head of department for Computer Science and a Professor of Interaction Design.

Digital Catapult is increasingly focused on looking more broadly at three market defined application areas where a combination of technologies can have tangible benefits in the real world: digital infrastructure, digital supply chains, and virtualisation.

The new appointments to the Board will help Digital Catapult get to the next stage of development, bringing specific expertise in the effect of technology changes on media, trust and countering disinformation, industrial infrastructure and startup development, ESG-related supply chain solutions, human-machine interaction, and industrial digitalisation.

Jessica Cecil

Jessica is a leading media industry figure and an expert in the field of disinformation, currently working as a consultant to media and tech companies. She founded the Trusted News Initiative (TNI), the world’s only alliance of major international tech companies and news organisations to counter the most harmful disinformation in real time. Jessica’s media industry leadership experience was honed over a long career at the BBC. As Chief of Staff to four Directors-General, she had a track record of creating and leading global alliances responding to the changes tech is having on audience’s lives. Before the TNI, she led a 30 partner-strong initiative to get the world to learn how to code. The result was the creation, manufacture and distribution of a codeable computer, the micro:bit. 6 million micro:bits have now been sold in 50 countries and are used by 25m children from Singapore to Finland. Jessica’s background is as a news journalist and documentary maker. She was an international news producer and assistant editor of BBC Newsnight. She is an Emmy nominee for the prime time TV science documentary Human Instinct. Jessica is also a Trustee of the University of Bristol, where she chairs the Equity, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee. She sits on the Council of Advisors for RAND Europe and is an Adjunct Fellow of the Queen Elizabeth II Leadership School at Chatham House, the Royal Institute for International Affairs.

Belinda Howell

Belinda is Founder & Managing Director of sustainability strategy consultancy Decarbonize Limited. She brings extensive experience at board level across sectors from energy, natural resources, agri-commodities, marine and fisheries through the supply chain to utilities, consumer goods and retail. As the first CEO of a software as a service (SaaS) technology provider, she has direct experience in digital startup/scaleup and blue-chip drivers for environmental, social and governance supply chain information solutions. Belinda is currently Non-Executive Director on the board of the London Pensions Fund Authority and the Marine Management Organisation, and Trustee of the National Biodiversity Network. Previous non-executive board experience includes National Centre for Atmospheric Science advising on Net Zero Digital Research Infrastructure, and the Roundtables for Sustainable Palm Oil and Responsible Soy Associations. She holds a Diploma in Company Directorship with distinction (Institute of Directors) and first class, business award-winning MBA.

Yvonne Rogers

Yvonne is the director of the Interaction Centre at UCL (UCLIC), deputy head of department for Computer Science and a Professor of Interaction Design. Her current research focuses on digitalisation, in all its various manifestations, with a focus on how human behaviour is being impacted and augmented through the design and adoption of new technologies. She is particularly interested in how humane applications of AI and smart technologies can be developed that benefit and disrupt society. She collaborates a lot with industrial partners and has been awarded a Microsoft Research Outstanding Collaborator Award (2016). Other awards include the Royal Society Robin Milner Medal (2022) and a MRC Suffrage and Science Award (2020) for being one of the leading women in ‘mathematics & computing.’ She was also elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society (2022), a Fellow of the ACM (2018); a Fellow of the British Computer Society (2014) and a Fellow of the ACM’s CHI Academy (2012).

Digital Catapult is currently undertaking some of the UK’s most significant and strategically important digital technology focussed projects including the £16 million SONIC Labs programme with Ofcom funded by DCMS, the £25 million Made Smarter Digital Supply Chain Hub funded by industry and InnovateUK, and the £10 million UK Telecoms Innovation Network project (UKTIN) also funded by DCMS.

In the last five years the organisation has worked with over 2,450 small businesses, 259 of which have raised a total of £577 million in early stage private investment.

In the last 12 months, Digital Catapult has achieved:


new academic engagements


new industrial collaborations


increase in collaborative research and development and commercial income