Press release

Appointments to Defra’s Science Advisory Council

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

New chair and seven members appointed to Science Advisory Council. Seven other members have…

Professor Christopher Gilligan has been appointed as Chair of Defra’s Science Advisory Council (SAC) by Lord Henley.

Seven other members have also been appointed - Professors Ian Bateman, Louise Heathwaite, Peter Liss, Quintin McKellar, Judith Petts, Peter Smith and Lynda Warren. The appointments will run from 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2014.

These appointments have been made in accordance with guidance issued by the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA).  All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.

The SAC was established to provide support to Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) so that he can independently challenge and promote the use of evidence in policy making in Defra.  The SAC reports through the CSA to Ministers and the Defra Board. The Council also has the power to report directly to Ministers if necessary.

The Chair will take responsibility for the operation and output of SAC, supported by Council members.  The SAC will collectively challenge and support the Department’s Chief Scientific Adviser in ensuring that the evidence programme meets Defra’s   needs, and will independently assure and challenge the evidence underpinning Defra policies.

Members may claim remuneration and reasonable travel expenses.  The current rate of remuneration is £375 per day for the Chair and £275 for members.

The Science Advisory Council is a non-departmental public body that was reconstituted last year following an independent review of Defra’s scientific bodies.

Biographical details

Professor Christopher Gilligan

Professor Gilligan is Head of the School of Biological Sciences and Professor of Mathematical Biology, University of Cambridge. He also holds Professorial Fellowship at King’s College and is Head of the Epidemiology and Modelling Group in the Department of Plant Sciences.

His research has developed and tested a suite of models to predict invasion persistence and control of botanical epidemics in agricultural and natural environments.

Professor Ian Bateman

Professor Bateman is Professor of Environmental Economics and Director of the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment at the University of East Anglia.

His main research interests are integrated environmental and economic modelling for decision making, formation and valuation of preferences for non-market goods and services, applying geographic information system (GIS) and experimental techniques to empirical problems, and working with policy makers to address real world environmental resource management issues. He is Head of Economics for the UK National Ecosystem Assessment.

Professor Louise Heathwaite

Professor Heathwaite is Co-Director of the Centre for Sustainable Water Management in the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University. She also works part-time as a science champion for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) as Theme Leader for the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources theme.

Her research expertise is in land and water systems science. She has over 25 years research experience in diffuse nutrient pollution, wetland hydrochemistry, and water quality.   Her applied research interests cut across the environmental sciences to interface with social science and economics.

Professor Peter Liss

Professor Liss has been based in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia for the past 40 years researching and teaching many aspects of environmental chemistry.  He is an environmental scientist whose research has focused on the biogeochemical interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere specialising in the processes of air-sea gas exchange, the mechanisms of trace gas formation in the oceans, and their reactivity and role in the atmosphere.

He has previously served as chairman of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), and was subsequently Chair of its Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS).   He was a member of the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council for 5 years, and until recently was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.

Professor Quintin McKellar

Professor McKellar is Vice-Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire. He was previously Principal of the Royal Veterinary College, University of London.

His research interests are in the pharmacology of anti-infective and anti-inflammatory drugs in domestic animals. He has been a member of the Biological and Biotechnological Research Council, the Government’s Veterinary Products Committee, Special Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance, Regulatory Agency Strategy Board, and Chairman of its Scientific Advisory Committee on Bovine Tuberculosis.

Professor Judith Petts

Professor Petts is Dean of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University of Southampton. Her research has focused on environmental risk governance and response to environmental and health hazards in areas such as climate change,** **energy, waste management, land contamination, natural hazards, and health and wellbeing.

Professor Petts holds one other Ministerial appointment as a member of Sciencewise Expert Resource Centre Steering Group.

**Professor Peter Smith **

Professor Smith is Professor of Soils and Global Change at the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, and the Science Director of the Scottish Climate Change Centre of Expertise.**

His main research interests are soil carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, biogeochemistry, global change impacts on ecosystems, and bio-energy. He has coordinated and participated in many national and international projects on soils,agriculture,greenhouse gases,climate change mitigation and impacts,and ecosystem modelling.

Professor Lynda Warren

Professor Warren is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Law at Aberystwyth University.

Her research interests centre on how law and science are used in developing and implementing environmental policy, focusing on two main areas - radioactive waste management and nature conservation.

Professor Warren holds three other Ministerial appointments: Deputy Chair of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Member of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management, and Chair (honorarium) of the Wales Coastal and Maritime Partnership.**