Dame Janet has spent her professional career in Universities, and latterly in non-executive roles in public service and the not-for-profit sector. She was Vice-Chancellor of Keele University for 15 years (1995-2010). Her academic expertise is as a sociologist, specialising in family relationships. Currently she is an Honorary Professor of Sociology at Manchester University.
As a Vice-Chancellor she led for the university sector on several initiatives related to health, and also on the establishment of the Equality Challenge Unit for HE, of whose board she was the founding chair. Since retiring from a full time role she has led a review of Open Access publishing of research findings, and chaired Main Panel C (Social Sciences) in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
Dame Janet is an experienced non-executive Board member and Chair. She has extensive experience of leadership roles in national bodies relating to research, science, education and health. She has chaired the boards of NatCen Social Research, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Ombudsman Services Ltd., and been the independent Co-chair of the Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology, the Government's most senior advisory body in science. Her board memberships include the Office for National Statistics, Her Majesty's Passport Office and the Medical Research Council.