DfT Science Advisory Council

DfT's Science Advisory Council supports the department on science and technology issues to make sure our work is of the highest standard.

DfT’s Science Advisory Council provides strategic level scientific advice and challenge to the department. Specific activities include:

  • horizon scanning - considering how emerging trends and developments might potentially affect current policy and practice
  • reviewing departmental strategic evidence plans
  • strengthening links with the academic community
  • advising on specific requests from officials
  • advising on the quality of evidence processes, capacity and capability within the department

The council provides independent advice and its members come from a mix of transport and non-transport areas.



  • Professor Lord Robert Mair CBE, FICE, FRS, FREng, President of the ICE and Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Cambridge


  • Anna-Marie Greenaway, BP Director of University Relationships
  • Barry Clarke, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering, Leeds University
  • Nick Pidgeon, Professor of Environmental Psychology, Cardiff University
  • Paul Newman, BP Professor of Information Engineering, University of Oxford
  • Paul Stein FREng, Chief Scientific Officer, Rolls Royce
  • Paul Watson, Professor of Computer Science, Newcastle University
  • Peter Jones, Professor of Transport and Sustainable Development, University College London
  • Ricardo Martinez-Botas, Professor of Turbo-machinery, Imperial College London
  • Sarah Sharples, Professor of Human Factors, University of Nottingham

Chair and member biographies

Chair, Professor Lord (Robert) Mair CBE FICE FREng FRS

Professor Lord Mair is the Sir Kirby Laing Professor of Civil Engineering and Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cambridge University. He was Master of Jesus College 2001 to 2011 and Senior Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Engineering 2008 to 2011.

Before he was appointed to a professorship at Cambridge in 1998 he worked in industry for 27 years, in 1983 founding the Geotechnical Consulting Group, an international consulting company based in London. He is Engineering Adviser to the Laing O’Rourke’s Group.

His research group at Cambridge specialises in the geotechnics of tunnelling and underground construction. He has advised on numerous tunnelling and major civil engineering projects in the UK and worldwide, including the Jubilee Line extension project for London Underground. He introduced the technique of compensation grouting to the UK; this was successfully used to protect Big Ben from movement due to construction of the adjacent Westminster Station and the technique has now been adopted worldwide. He is closely involved with Crossrail, Europe’s largest civil engineering project, and is a member of its Engineering Expert Panel. He gave evidence to the House of Commons and House of Lords Select Committees in connection with the Crossrail Bill.

Professor Lord Mair also leads the Centre on Smart Infrastructure and Construction at Cambridge, involving the innovative use of the latest sensor technologies to monitor the behaviour of civil engineering infrastructure. He chaired the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering report on shale gas for the government, published in 2012.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2007 and awarded the CBE in 2010 for services to engineering. In October 2015 he was appointed an independent crossbencher in the House of Lords.

Anna-Marie Greenaway

Anna-Marie Greenaway was appointed BP Director of University Relationships in 2015, which is a global role encompassing technical and policy research to support BP’s strategic objectives, recruitment, executive education and international research partnerships. Prior to this she was VP Science and Technology based at the University of Cambridge and she retains accountability for this strategic partnership. She is a member of the board of the BP Institute and sits on the advisory committees of the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies, Scott Polar Research Institute and the Clean Energy Centre at Tsinghua University, Beijing. Previously, Anna-Marie spent 4 years in BP’s Group Strategy team, where she led the 2030 Energy Pathways research programme, covering the US, EU, China, India and Brazil. This involved bringing together local, international and multi-disciplinary teams from across BP and incorporating external perspectives from wider industry sectors, government bodies and leading academics.

Earlier roles at BP have spanned special assignments to support Group Technology and Safety & Operations, Head of Downstream Change Leadership Capability and leading the Technical & Commercial Partnership between BMW and Castrol across Northern Europe. Prior to BP, Anna-Marie spent 10 years in retail operations, advertising and corporate communications with Exxon after joining their graduate programme in 1989 as capital investment analyst. Her academic background is in Earth Sciences and she hold a BSc from RHBNC University of London, and a Masters in Sustainability Leadership from the University of Cambridge.

Professor Barry Clarke

Barry Clarke:

  • is past president of the Institution of Civil Engineers and professor of Civil Engineering Geotechnics
  • is a founding director of the Institute of Resilient Infrastructure at the University of Leeds
  • is a past president of the UK Engineering Professors Council
  • represents higher education on the board of CITB ConstructionSkills, the training body for the UK construction industry
  • is chair of E4BE, a UK Construction Industry Council led body that focuses on the educational base of professionals working in the built environment
  • is a member of the Engineering Strategic Advisory Team of EPSRC, the research funding body for engineering research in the UK
  • is chairman of the Engineering Accreditation Board, a body that brings all the UK professional engineering bodies together to address the education of engineers

Professor Nick Pidgeon, MBE

Nick is Director of the Understanding Risk Research Group within the School of Psychology at Cardiff University and Professor of Environmental Risk. His research and science policy work is interdisciplinary at the interface of social psychology, human geography, risk research, and the sociology of technologies. He has worked over the years on safety and the organisational causes of major industrial accidents, on monetary and non-monetary valuation of risk and safety, and latterly on how the public view and engage with environmental and technological risks and sustainability. His most recent work has focused upon topics such as attitudes to nuclear power and renewable energy, people’s biographies of everyday energy use including that of transportation, attitudes to future energy-system change, and perceptions of climate change risk. He is currently a co-investigator to the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) as well as co-Director of the Centre for Industrial Energy, Materials and Products. He has filled numerous science advisory roles including for HM Treasury, the Department of the Environment, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the National Infrastructure Commission, and the former National Radiological Protection Board.

Before moving to Cardiff in 2006 he directed the Centre for Environmental Risk at the School of Environmental Sciences at University of East Anglia Norwich. Before that he held positions at Bangor University and at Birkbeck College University of London.

He is a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association, and was awarded an MBE in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to climate change awareness and energy security policy. Nick chaired the 2006 Cross-Party Parliamentary inquiry whose report ‘Is a cross-party consensus on climate change possible – or desirable?’ recommended the setting up of the UK Climate Change Committee.

Professor Peter Jones, OBE, FCIHT, FRGS, HonFIHE

Peter Jones is Professor of Transport and Sustainable Development in the Centre for Transport Studies at University College London. He is a member of the Independent Transport Commission and co-chairs DfT’s Joint Analysis Development Panel. He has carried out various advisory roles for the European Commission and for several national and city governments around the world. He is currently a Member of the CIHT Urban Design Panel, the London Commission for Roads and Streets, the Manchester Congestion Expert Reference Group and the Commission for Travel Demand.

He is the Scientific Co-ordinator of the EU ‘CREATE’ project, and has a wide range of transport research and teaching interests, covering both analytical methods and policy. These include:

  • traveller attitudes and behaviour
  • travel trends and the determinants of travel demand
  • traffic restraint studies
  • accessibility studies
  • policy option generation
  • major transport economic and social impact studies
  • public engagement
  • development of new survey and appraisal methods
  • activity-based modelling and analysis
  • advances in urban street planning and design

Professor Paul Newman FREng FIET FIEEE

Paul Newman is the BP Professor of Information Engineering at the University of Oxford and an EPSRC Leadership Fellow. He heads the Mobile Robotics Group within the Department of Engineering Science which enjoys a world leading reputation in mobile autonomy - developing machines and robots which map, navigate through, and understand their environments. His focus lies on pushing the boundaries of navigation and autonomy techniques in terms of both endurance and scale.

The Mobile Robotics Group has developed a keen focus on intelligent transport for example the RobotCar and enjoys collaborations with many industrial partners which provide exploitation opportunities to drive the research. In 2014 he founded Oxbotica - a spinout company focused on Robotics and Autonomous Systems - and was elected fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering with a citation for outstanding contributions to robot navigation.

He obtained an MEng in Engineering Science from Oxford University, Balliol College in 1995. He then undertook a PhD in autonomous navigation at the Australian Center for Field Robotics, University of Sydney, Australia. In 1999 he returned to the UK to work in the commercial sub-sea navigation industry. The navigation software he wrote then was used to repair the Deep Sea Horizon leak in 2010.

In late 2000 he joined the Department of Ocean Engineering at MIT where as a post-doc and later a research scientist, he worked on algorithms and software for robust autonomous navigation for both land and sub-sea agents. In early 2003 he returned to Oxford as a departmental lecturer in Engineering Science before being appointed to a University Lectureship in Information Engineering and becoming a Fellow of New College in 2005, Professor of Engineering Science in 2010 and BP Professor of Information Engineering and Fellow of Keble College in 2012.

Paul Stein FREng

In April 2017, Paul Stein was appointed to the Executive Leadership Team as Chief Technology Officer. Paul joined Rolls-Royce in 2010 as Chief Scientific Officer and for 2 years acted as the Engineering and Technology Director for the company’s nuclear business in addition to his Chief Scientific Officer responsibilities. His most recent role was Director of Research & Technology, accountable for the company’s global investment in research and technology, as well as fostering innovation and promoting and sustaining specialist engineering talent.

In his previous career, Paul became the Director General, Science and Technology at the Ministry of Defence in 2006, responsible for the technical direction, prioritisation and out-sourcing of the UK’s £500 million annual investment in defence science and technology.

In 1996 he was appointed Managing Director Roke Manor Research, at that time owned by Siemens. Its most famous commercially successful innovation is ‘Hawk-Eye’, the ball sports tracking system used for line call verification in tennis. In 2003 Paul was appointed to the Siemens UK Executive Management Board leading technology and contributing to business strategy.

Paul started his career at Philips Research Laboratories in Redhill, Surrey developing technology and systems engineering techniques for early generation analogue cellular phone systems, then moving into the development of military communications systems and then progressing into business development roles.

Paul graduated in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from King’s College London in 1978. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

He is married with 2 children and 2 step-children, and lives in both Harrow and Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

Professor Paul Watson, FREng

Paul Watson is Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Digital Institute at Newcastle University. He is PI of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Cloud Computing for Big Data and previously directed the £12 million RCUK-funded Digital Economy Hub on Social Inclusion through the Digital Economy which focused on using advanced computing technologies to transform the lives of older people and those with disabilities. He graduated in 1983 with a BSc in Computer Engineering from Manchester University, followed by a PhD on parallel computing in 1986. In the 80s, as a Lecturer at Manchester University, he was a designer of the Alvey Flagship and Esprit EDS systems. From 1990-5 he worked for ICL as a system designer of the Goldrush MegaServer parallel database server, which was released as a product in 1994.

In August 1995 he moved to Newcastle University, where he has led a range of research projects. His research interest is in scalable information management with a current focus on data analytics and IoT. He sits on the board of Dynamo North East, an industry-led organisation created to grow the IT economy of the region. Professor Watson is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Chartered Engineer and a member of the UK Computing Research Committee. He received the 2014 Jim Gray eScience Award.

Professor Ricardo Martinez-Botas

Ricardo is Professor of Turbomachinery at Imperial College London, and Head of the Thermofluids Division in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

He leads a research group in the area of low carbon vehicles with particular emphasis to highly downsized engines, turbochargers and energy storage systems. He has developed the area of unsteady flow aerodynamics of small turbines, with particular application to the turbocharger industry. The contributions to this area centre on the application of unsteady fluid mechanics, instrumentation development and computational methods. The work has attracted support not only from government agencies but also from industry. His group has become a recognised centre of turbocharger turbine aerodynamics, and more particularly in the application experimental methods and one dimensional calculation procedures.

Ricardo has a MEng (Hons) degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College London. He obtained a DPhil in the Rolls Royce University Technology Centre at the University of Oxford University in 1993. He was appointed lecturer at Imperial College in 1994 and became professor in 2012.

He is the current chair UK University Internal Combustion Engines Group (UnICEG) and he is also vice-Chair of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Turbomachinery Committee. He is a visiting professor in the University Teknologi of Malaysia and at the Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. He has published over 85 journal papers. He is Associate Editor of the ASME Journal of Turbomachinery and the IMechE Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science.

Professor Sarah Sharples

Sarah is Professor of Human Factors at the University of Nottingham, and Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange in the Faculty of Engineering.

Sarah’s work considers how we can use human factors quantitative and qualitative methods to understand human capabilities and limitations, and uses this understanding to inform design and implementation of novel technologies in complex systems. Her work spans transport, manufacturing and healthcare. Within transport, she led a long-term programme of work with the rail industry, with particular focus on the design of work for signallers and controllers. She applied this work within the air traffic control domain, and has collaborated in projects which now inform understanding of workload, situation awareness and behaviour strategies in high demand transport control settings. More recently her work has focused on intelligent mobility, taking a systems approach to understanding the information needs and decisions made by travellers across an end-to-end journey.

Sarah has a BSc in Psychology, an MSc in Human Factors and a PhD from the Faculty of Engineering in Human Factors of Virtual Reality. She was President of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors from 2015 to 16, and has published over 80 refereed journal papers. She is Special Issues Editor of the journal ‘Applied Ergonomics’ and a Non-Executive Director of the Transport Systems Catapult.