Sharon Witherspoon MBE appointed Director of the Nuffield Foundation

28 March 2012

The Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the appointment of Sharon Witherspoon MBE as the new Director of the Nuffield Foundation.

Sharon currently holds the post of Deputy Director of the Foundation, and will take up her new position following the retirement of current Director Anthony Tomei this summer.  

Sharon leads the Nuffield Foundation’s social policy research programmes and has been Deputy Director since 2000, having joined the Foundation in 1996. She is a member of the Strategic Forum for the Social Sciences and several other strategic bodies supporting excellence in social science research. She was awarded an honorary MBE for services to social science in 2008 and the British Academy President's Medal in 2011.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Sharon was a senior researcher at the Policy Studies Institute and NatCen Social Research, where she was responsible for the design and statistical analysis of large scale representative studies of public behaviour, family life and the regulation of professions. She was one of the original researchers for the British Social Attitudes Survey series. 

Sharon Witherspoon said:

“I am delighted – and honoured – to have been chosen as the next Director of the Foundation. I believe that we can build on our existing strong reputation for funding rigorous research and building research capacity, and achieve a step-change in the influence that evidence has on policy and practice in our areas of interest.”

Chairman of Trustees Professor David Rhind CBE FRS Hon FBA said:

“My fellow Trustees and I are delighted to announce Sharon’s appointment as the new Director of the Nuffield Foundation following a rigorous selection process aided by recruitment consultants.

“Sharon has filled the post of Deputy Director of the Foundation with great distinction. Her experience, proven track record and vision for the Foundation’s future make her the right choice to lead us over the coming years.”


Contact: Frances Bright, Communications Manager on 020 7681 9586 or


1.The current Director of the Nuffield foundation is Anthony Tomei. Anthony has been Director since 1995, having joined the Foundation in 1977. He will retire from the post in the summer.

2.The appointment was made by the Nuffield Foundation Board of Trustees following an open application and selection process.