Building of the school

Photo by John Cairns

Jonathan Black, lately the UK Prime Minister’s G7 and G20 Sherpa and Deputy National Security Advisor, has been appointed as the second Heywood Fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government.

The purpose of the Fellowship, created in memory of Jeremy Heywood, Cabinet Secretary from 2012 to 2018, is to give a Senior UK Civil Servant (a Permanent Secretary or Director General) the opportunity to explore issues relating to public service and policy outside of the immediate responsibilities of government duties.  

During his Fellowship, Jonathan will focus on how economic prosperity and national security policy intersects. Some of the most systemic policy challenges faced today sit at this intersection, including issues relating to science and technology, trade and investment, and climate and health - and it also affects, as the war in Ukraine has shown, the fundamentals of statecraft. Governments’ ability to address these challenges in a coherent way is ever more critical to delivering peace and prosperity for their citizens.  

Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School, said:

“We are proud to work alongside the Heywood Foundation to sustain Jeremy Heywood’s legacy and advance our common mission to promote innovation and excellence in public policy. At this critical time for good governance globally, the focus of Jonathan’s work is crucial and we look forward to welcoming him to the School as the second Heywood Fellow.”

Lady Heywood, the Chair of the Heywood Foundation, said:

“We are delighted that Jonathan Black will be the next Heywood Fellow. The thinking he will be doing affects an increasingly critical area of policy making for all governments and Jonathan is exceptionally well positioned to bring new insights to this. Jeremy would be thrilled by both Jonathan’s appointment and the topic that he will be researching.”     

Jonathan Black said:

“It’s a real privilege to take up this Fellowship established in Jeremy’s name. Jeremy championed a culture of problem-solving for the most systemic policy challenges. The focus for the Fellowship this year is inspired by that.         

“Our national security and economic interests are interconnected as never before - and global and geopolitical trends mean they will only become more so. We need to make sure we have the right policy making processes to keep up with this much more complex and changing context.”        

The Heywood Foundation established the Heywood Visiting Fellowship at the Blavatnik School with support from the Cabinet Office. 

Jonathan will undertake this work during a nine month period of special leave from the UK Civil Service, during which he will be based at the Blavatnik School. For the duration of the work Jonathan will also be a Visiting Fellow at Hertford College, Oxford, Lord Heywood’s former college. 

Jeremy Heywood – Lord Heywood of Whitehall – served as Cabinet Secretary from January 2012 to October 2018. He was also Head of the Civil Service from September 2014. Jeremy Heywood had previously served three Prime Ministers in 10 Downing Street as Principal Private Secretary to Tony Blair (1998–2003) and Permanent Secretary in Number 10 to Gordon Brown (2008–10) and to David Cameron (2010–12). In previous roles in the Civil Service, Jeremy Heywood served as Principal Private Secretary to successive Chancellors of the Exchequer, Norman Lamont (1991–3) and Kenneth Clarke (1993–4). Jeremy Heywood was committed to innovation in public service and to broadening the civil service so that its diversity more fully represented the citizens it serves. These priorities lie at the heart of the work of the Heywood Foundation which was established in his memory.

Jonathan Black is the Heywood Fellow and has been a Civil Servant for 20 years. Prior to his appointment, he was the Prime Minister’s G7/G20 Sherpa and Deputy National Security Adviser (2019-2022), including during the UK’s Presidencies of the G7 and COP26 in 2021. He was Deputy Head of the Europe Unit at the Cabinet Office and one of the UK’s principal Brexit negotiators (2017-2019). He has also held a number of senior roles at HM Treasury on economic and international policy, including Press Secretary to George Osborne (2011-2014) and Private Secretary to Chancellors of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and Alastair Darling (2005-2007). He also served as the UK Director of the European Investment Bank and Alternate Director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He is an Emeritus Governor at the London School of Economics.