The chief executive of the Sellafield-based National Nuclear Laboratory has been appointed to the top position of a major industry group.

Paul Howarth has become chairman of the Association for Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations (AIRTO).

This is a membership body for organisations operating in the UK’s innovation, research and technology sector.

The organisation has more than 60 members, from across a wide range of sectors.

Other nuclear organisations which are AIRTO members include the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the UK Atomic Energy Authority. Dr Howarth has served on the AIRTO Board since 2014.

Dr Howarth said: “This is a very exciting time for organisations working in innovation. AIRTO has a unique opportunity to build on the government’s recognition in its’ recent industrial strategy of the importance of innovation.

"The UK has a thriving and vibrant innovation services and support sector which AIRTO represents extremely effectively. Innovation touches every single sector of society in one way or another.

"AIRTO can help Government, but also reach out to champion and provide a voice for innovation across the economy in the context of the new industrial strategy," he added.

"I’m looking forward to working with colleagues on the board and throughout the AIRTO membership to make that happen."