Professor Sir John Beddington CMG, FRS
Between January 2008 and the end of March 2013, Sir John was the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office for Science. He reported directly to the Prime Minister and attended Cabinet Sub-committees and, on occasion, Cabinet. He had access to and numerous interactions with various Secretaries of State and his formal reporting line was to the Cabinet Secretary. He was Head of Profession for Science and Engineering in Government and founded the Government Science and Engineering Network. He headed the group of Chief Scientific Advisers in Government. He chaired the National Security Council Science Advisory Group and the Science Advisory Group in Emergencies reporting into the COBR Committee. His experience was in three rather different emergencies: the pandemic influenza outbreak in 2009, the volcanic ash closure of UK air space in 2010 and problems linked to the earthquake and tsunami affecting the nuclear plants in Fukushima in Japan in 2011. He directed the Foresight team which had the responsibility to look forward and assess implications for major challenges in the future. Typical timescales ranged from 10 to as much as 40 years. The reports produced by the Foresight team are substantial; typically projects may involve some 400 contributors from around 40 countries. The subjects studied are highly variable and involve substantial multi-disciplinary work.