Winstanley, who has previously held senior positions at tech organisations in the US and the UK, will take up the role from current chief Ian Reid in January.
A former research scientist with the Ministry of Defence, Winstanley rose through the ranks to become chief executive and president of defence tech firm Qinetiq’s North American operation in 2007.
Since 2010, he has held a series of board and non-executive appointments at organisations such as the UK Defence Solutions Centre, Reliance High Technology, and BHR Group. In 2012, he co-founded big data consultancy Alazen, where he was chief executive.
Reid is standing down after five years of leading Censis, which was recently award £9.25 million in funding from its funding partners the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise for its second five-year phase.
Winstanley said: “This is an exciting time to join Censis as the team embarks on its second phase with a reinvigorated focus and energy.
“Ian has done an excellent job of making Censis the go-to innovation partner for businesses of all sizes in Scotland and I look forward to building on that solid foundation.”
Reid added: “Paul is the ideal person to take Censis forward in phase two and I wish him and all of the team the very best for the future.”