The Nuffield Foundation has appointed Dame Julie Maxton as Chair of the Oversight Board of the Ada Lovelace Institute, an independent research institute with a mission to make AI and data work for people and society.
Her three-year term as Chair will begin in October, succeeding Professor Dame Wendy Hall.
Dame Julie Maxton is Executive Director of the Royal Society, the first woman to hold the post. In her role, she has brought scientists and members of the judiciary together around areas of mutual interest, and particularly to make sure that the best possible scientific guidance is available to the courts.
Before taking up her position at the Royal Society in 2011, she was Registrar at the University of Oxford. She is an Honorary Fellow of University College Oxford, a Bencher of the Middle Temple, a Freeman of the Goldsmith’s Company and a Board member of Sense about Science.
In the past she has also been a board member of the Alan Turing Institute, the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford, Haberdasher Aske’s School (Elstree), Engineering UK, Charities Aid Foundation and the Faraday Institute.
Originally trained as a barrister, she combined a career as a practising lawyer with that of an academic, holding senior academic positions, including Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Academic and other recognition she has received include a CBE (2017), DBE (2023), and Honorary Degrees from the Universities of Huddersfield, Warwick, Canterbury, Hull, Bristol and Brunel. She is the author of numerous articles concerned with trusts, equity, commercial and property law.
Dame Julie Maxton said:
‘The Ada Lovelace Institute plays a vital role in ensuring that the power of data and AI is used in ways that maximise social wellbeing and put technology at the service of humanity.
I look forward to leading Ada’s board and supporting the Institute’s work gathering evidence on the benefits and harms of AI technologies, informing policy and ensuring that the voice of the public is heard in discussions and debates around AI and data. I’m grateful to the Ada and the Nuffield Foundation for this exciting opportunity.’
Francine Bennett, Interim Director of the Ada Lovelace Institute, said:
‘We are delighted to have Dame Julie join us as Chair. Her academic rigour and practical leadership experience will support Ada to deliver against our mission to make data and AI work for people and society.
‘We would like to thank our outgoing Chair, Professor Dame Wendy Hall, for her contributions to the Institute over the last three years.’
Professor Sir Keith Burnett, Chair of the Nuffield Foundation, said:
‘I’d like to warmly welcome Dame Julie Maxton to the role of Chair of the Ada Lovelace Institute at what is a critical time in the progress of AI.
‘At both the University of Oxford and the Royal Society I have seen Julie’s impressive leadership, experience and skills at first hand.
‘I am in no doubt that she will be an outstanding Chair who will help ensure that Ada continues to be at the forefront of the response to the significant legal and ethical questions that advances in AI are creating.’