Silaja Birks


Silaja is one of our trustees, and currently leads the strategic partnerships portfolio at Wellcome Trust.

Silaja Birks currently leads the strategic partnerships portfolio at Wellcome Trust, with a background in fostering high-impact collaborations with multilateral agencies, philanthropies, governments and NGO partners. 

Prior to joining Wellcome, Silaja was with UNICEF’s private sector partnerships team in New York, and previously led UNICEF UK’s work with philanthropic organisations. Silaja spent a number of years in the arts and cultural sector, primarily at Tate and at the Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation. 

She holds a Master’s degree in Museum Studies, and is a graduate of the University of Oxford. Silaja has previously held Board positions with Black Cultural Archives, the Migration Museum, and Book Works. 

A second generation Sri Lankan Briton, Silaja is passionate about embedding equity, diversity and inclusion practices, and has played an active role in fostering EDI steering groups at Wellcome, UNICEF and Tate.