Sir Jeremy Farrar, Director (2013-2023)

Sir Jeremy Farrar OBE FMedSci FRS was the Director of Wellcome from 2013-2023, a global charitable foundation which supports science to solve urgent health challenges. 

Jeremy’s whole career has been dedicated to protecting and improving global health. As a researcher he specialised in infectious diseases, and he has published more than 600 papers.  

Born in Singapore, Jeremy lived there and in Cyprus, New Zealand and Libya as a child before moving to the UK as a teenager. He holds degrees in immunology and medicine from University College London and a doctorate in neuroimmunology from the University of Oxford. He trained as a doctor in London, Edinburgh, Melbourne, San Francisco and Oxford.

Jeremy spent 18 years leading the Clinical Research Unit at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, where he made many pivotal advances in the understanding of diseases like tuberculosis (TB), malaria, typhoid, dengue and influenza, as well as helping to train scientists from across South-east Asia and beyond. He joined Wellcome as Director in 2013. 

As part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Jeremy is a member of the UK Vaccine Taskforce and the Principles Group of the ACT-Accelerator hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO), and he chairs the WHO R&D Blueprint Advisory Group. As well as sharing his expertise, he champions rapid investment in research on Covid-19 testing, treatments and vaccines, and argues that everyone – not only people who live in rich countries – should benefit equally from the discoveries that result. 

He has held a number of other advisory roles for governments and international bodies such as the WHO and UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). He was named 12th in the Fortune list of World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in 2015 and was awarded the Memorial Medal and Ho Chi Minh City Medal from the Government of Vietnam for services to public health, medicine and research. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the European Molecular Biology Organization, the US National Academies and the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2018 he received the President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian of the Year Award and in 2019 was knighted for services to global health. 

Jeremy lives in Oxford with his wife and children. He loves all sport but he’s most passionate about cricket and still plays regularly for Steeple Aston Cricket Club. He’s also a keen walker, whether that’s in the Alps or across the Oxfordshire hills with the family dogs, Coco and Sẽp-Y. He left Wellcome in February 2023 to take on a new role as Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization.