Dr Jenny Pyper © Ulster University; used with kind permission. 

Dr Jenny Pyper

Pro-Chancellor, Ulster University

Prior to her retirement in September 2021, Jenny served as the interim Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) and secretary to the Northern Ireland Executive, the first woman to occupy the role in the 100-year history of the service. She led an organisation of some 23 000 civil servants for 10 months, delivering public services across Northern Ireland (NI) during some of the most difficult periods of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A geography science graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, Jenny joined the NICS from university and was appointed in 2004 as the Director of Energy Policy for NI  where she managed policy and legislative responsibilities in relation to the electricity, gas and renewable energy industries for over six years. This included leading the creation of the ground-breaking Single Electricity Market (SEM) on the island of Ireland in 2007. Jenny was subsequently promoted to deputy Permanent Secretary with responsibility for urban regeneration and community development across NI.

She left the NICS in 2013 to become Chief Executive Officer of the Utility Regulator, responsible for the economic regulation of NI’s electricity, gas, water and sewerage industries. Amongst other roles, Jenny oversaw the Gas to the West project, which significantly expanded the gas network across NI, as well as significant investment in renewable electricity technologies including substantial changes to the capacity of the all-island electricity grid. Appointed jointly by Ministers in both NI and the Republic of Ireland, she served for seven years on the all-island electricity market regulatory body, the SEM Committee.

Jenny has been Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council for Ulster University since July 2020.  The university recognised her contribution to public services in June 2022 with the award of an honorary doctorate (DUniv).

Jenny is a Fellow of the Geological Society of London (FGS) and the Energy Institute (FEI).

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