Sally Davies, director general of research and development, DH

Command of a budget in excess of£775m gives Sally Davies substantial sway, which she exercises efficiently. Her major achievement has been to continue drawing substantial research funds from the Treasury while setting about implementing the Best Research for Best Health national strategy, which is said to have re-engineered much of the debate around the next stage review, which put new weight behind “innovation”.

However, Lord Darzi’s report also states the scale of the challenge and she will have to ensure research translates into clinical practice and service design improvements.

Regions are being given new funds and responsibility to drive research, so her reach can be expected to extend to strategic health authority level.

Professor Davies holds a chair at Imperial College London, her own research interest being sickle cell disease.

She is mooted as a future chief medical officer.