He was the Minister of State (Universities and Science) at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in the incoming coalition government in 2010. He resigned from the Government in July 2014.
Life outside politics
In October 2014, Willetts took on the role of education investment adviser to the Silvertown Partnership, an organisation which specialises in the regeneration of towns. He became a visiting professor at King's College London, working with the Public Policy Institute in the same month. 
In June 2015 he was appointed to a part-time position as non-executive board member of the National Council for Universities and Businesses having sought the advice of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.
Willetts took up a part-time, paid appointment as non-executive director for Biotech Growth Trust in November 2015 with the approval of the ACOBA, providing he did not use any privileged information from his time in government and that he serve a two year lobbying ban. 
He also started a new position as an unpaid independent trustee director with the Francis Crick Institute in December 2015, gaining approval from ACOBA despite his direct dealings with FCI during his time in office.
Willetts has also taken up the following appointments since he left government with the consent of the committee:
- Board member, Biotech Industry Association - May 2015
- Executive chairman, Resolution Foundation - September 2015
- Chair, British Science Association - September 2015
- Senior non-executive director, Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd - September 2015
- Member, Higher Education Strategic Management Board October 2014 
Financial interests and donations
According to the MP's Register of Financial Interests Willetts received the following donations and financial payments:
- Name of donor: Sir Michael Bishop
- Address of donor: private
- Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £35,000—to support the work of my office as Shadow Secretary of State for Universities and Skills, to pay annual salary of research assistant.
- Date of receipt: 23 February 2010
- Date of acceptance: 23 February 2010
- Donor status: individual (Registered 17 March 2010)
- Name of donor: Price Waterhouse Coopers
- Address of donor: 1 Embankment Place London WC2N 6RH
- Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: £4,662 in connection with research into the ‘Early Years Entitlement’ programme, made in relation to my previous capacity as front-bench spokesman Date of receipt: 30 April 2010
- Date of acceptance: 10 May 2010 Donor status: company No BR000746 (Registered 27 May 2010)
- Willetts was a senior Adviser to Punter Southall, a firm of actuaries, advising on pension issues (Resigned on 31 December 2009). (Earnings £75,001-£80,000) Payment of £30,000 for six month period July-December 2009. (Registered 23 November 2009)
- Gleneagles Pensions and Savings Industry Summit 18-20 September 2009: I received an honorarium of £4,000, air travel to Edinburgh and return of £379.60, and accommodation at Gleneagles Hotel for myself and my wife, payment received on 14 December 2009. (Registered 2 February 2010)
- '13-15 January 2000, Willetts attended the Franco-British Colloque at Hanbury Manor in Hertfordshire, sponsored by BP Amoco. (Registered 20 January 2000)'
In 2007 Willetts received £25,000.00 from Australian businessman David Willetts in three separate bids.
- Henry Jackson Society - Signatory of Statement of Principles
- Ditchley Foundation - Governor
- Institute for Fiscal Studies - Council member
- Franco-British Colloque
- Silvertown Partnership - Education Investment Adviser
- TES - Member of Higher Education Strategic Management Board
- King's College London - Visiting Professor
- Why I’m standing down from Parliament: David Willetts, MP for Havant The Telegraph, 20 March 2015, accessed 20 May 2015
- Her Majesty’s Government, Number10.gov.uk, accessed 12 May 2010.
- Reshuffle at-a-glance: In, out and moved about, BBC News, 15 July 2014.
- Summary of Business Appointments Applications - Rt Hon David Willetts, www.Gov.UK, 17 March 2015, accessed 22 September 2015.
- David Willetts Summary of Business Appointments Applications, Gov.uk, accessed 19 July 2016
- David Willetts Business appointments ACOBA, Gov.uk, accessed 16 February 2016
- House of Commons Register of Members Interests David Willetts, accessed January 2007.
- Electoral Commission, Donation search, accessed 2 March 2015