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Gaia Marcus appointed as new Director of the Ada Lovelace Institute

Gaia Marcus has been appointed by the Nuffield Foundation as the new Director of the Ada Lovelace Institute, following an open recruitment process.

2 April 2024

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Portrait photo of Gaia Marcus

Gaia Marcus has been appointed by the Nuffield Foundation as the new Director of the Ada Lovelace Institute, following an open recruitment process.

Gaia will take up her post as Director in June following Francine Bennett’s tenure as Interim Director. Francine will re-join the Ada Board, on which she has served as a member since 2019.

Gaia has extensive experience of leadership roles across government and the charity sector, working to develop and deliver strategies for the responsible and beneficial use of data and data-driven technologies, as well as an academic background in human rights.

Within government, she was most recently Deputy Director (Advanced Analytics and Local Capabilities) at the Spatial Data Unit within the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. She led on ensuring that data and data-driven analysis were used to support policymaking and service delivery, and oversaw DLUHC’s work to support data capabilities in local areas, including its development of national-local data partnerships with mayoral combined authorities.

Gaia was also previously Deputy Director (Strategy for the Integrated Data Service) at the Office for National Statistics, Head of Engagement for Civil Service Reform at the Cabinet Office and Head of National Data Strategy at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, leading on the Government’s overall strategy for delivering the societal and economic benefits of data and data-driven technologies while ensuring public trust in their use.

Gaia also has extensive experience in the charity and non-profit sector, specialising in data strategy and participatory approaches to research, innovation and policy. As Data Strategy Lead at Parkinson’s UK, Gaia delivered a roadmap for improving the organisation’s data maturity, skills and culture in service of its overall strategy. At Centrepoint, she delivered the UK’s first open data source and national helpline for youth homelessness. At the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce she worked with local communities to develop wellbeing and health interventions driven by local data collection and analysis. She is currently a member of the Samaritans’ Board of Trustees.

Gaia holds an MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and a BA in History from University College London.

Gaia Marcus, incoming Director, said:

‘I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to lead the Ada Lovelace Institute into its next chapter at this critical moment for shaping the impact of data and AI on people and society.

‘Ada’s values of independence, rigour and interdisciplinarity – along with the Institute’s deep commitment to public participation and partnership working across industry, government, civil society and academia – are needed more than ever to influence policy and practice and ensure that data and AI work for people and society.

‘I am excited to work with the Ada and Nuffield teams and our partners to build on Ada’s achievements and strengthen Ada’s valued role within the data and AI ecosystem.’

Francine Bennett, outgoing Interim Director, said:

‘I’m so pleased that Gaia will be leading Ada on the next part of our journey. Ada’s mission has only grown in importance since it was established. The Institute’s independent, evidence-based and collaborative approach to convening diverse voices, building evidence and shaping good policy and practice  is vital to realising that mission.

‘Gaia’s leadership will be crucial to Ada’s future impact. Her background across government, civil society and the charitable sector means that she’s perfectly placed to make sense of the many concerns and perspectives that Ada seeks to understand, amplify and represent. I look forward to continuing to work closely with her when I return to the Board.’

Tim Gardam, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Foundation, said:

‘I’m delighted to welcome Gaia to the Ada Lovelace Institute. In the six years since it was established, Ada has become a leading proponent of good governance for data-driven and AI technologies.

‘With Gaia at the helm, and with her experience inside and outside government, Ada’s mission of ensuring these technologies exist to enhance individual wellbeing, and ultimately serve society, is in expert hands.’


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