Wellcome Trust appoints Simon Chaplin as new Director of Culture & Society

The Wellcome Trust is today pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Simon Chaplin as Director of Culture & Society. Dr Chaplin, who was previously Head of the Wellcome Library, succeeds Clare Matterson, who took on the new role of Director of Strategy earlier this month.

As Head of the Wellcome Library since 2010, Simon has overseen the physical and digital transformation of this great medical history resource into one of the world's most innovative libraries. He has led a highly successful digitisation programme that has made millions of pages of books and archive material freely accessible online, and overseen an exciting redesign of the Library's public spaces as part of the Wellcome Collection Development Project.

Dr Chaplin has also been a great champion of the Trust's open access policy, helping to extend the policy to the humanities and social sciences, as well as releasing more than 100,000 historical images from Wellcome Images under an open licence.

Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said: "Simon is an inspiring leader and a wise colleague, with great experience and expertise in the cultural sector, the humanities and public engagement. He will be an outstanding successor to Clare Matterson, who will be ideally placed to build on her achievements in these central aspects of the Wellcome Trust's mission."

Dr Chaplin said: "Over the past decade, the Wellcome Trust has helped change the way we think about medicine and its place in society. Through the innovative programmes we run at Wellcome Collection and in the Wellcome Library, and by working with a wider community of talented researchers and creative professionals through our grant schemes, we have helped encourage a national and international conversation about science and the human condition. I am delighted to be taking over such a vibrant and innovative programme from Clare Matterson, and to be leading the next stage in our journey."

Before joining the Trust, Simon was Director of Museums and Special Collections at the Royal College of Surgeons, where he led the curatorial team behind the highly acclaimed redevelopment of the Hunterian Museum. He originally trained as a zoologist before his interest in the history and philosophy of science and medicine led him to join the Science Museum, where he worked on the Wellcome medical collections. He holds a PhD from King's College London on the history of anatomical museums and has lectured and published widely on the work of the 18th-century anatomist John Hunter.

Simon will take up his new post and join the Executive Board with immediate effect. Robert Kiley will be Acting Head of Library until a decision is made about Simon's replacement.