MHCLG Chief Scientific Adviser

Professor Alan Penn


Professor Alan Penn is the Chief Scientific Adviser at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

A Professor in Architectural and Urban Computing at University College London (UCL), Alan’s research focuses on understanding the way that the design of the built environment affects the patterns of social and economic behaviour of organisations and communities.

Before joining MHCLG, Alan was Dean of The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at UCL. He was Chair of the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning sub-panel for REF2014 and for RAE2008. Alan is a board member of Space Syntax Ltd, a technology spin-out from UCL, and is trustee of the Shakespeare North Trust, a charity which is constructing a new Shakesperian theatre and educational centre in Prescot, outside Liverpool.

Alan was appointed as the MHCLG Chief Scientific Adviser in July 2019.

In his role as the MHCLG Chief Scientific Adviser, Alan provides a challenge function to the department on the use of science and engineering evidence in policy-making.

MHCLG Chief Scientific Adviser

The MHCLG Chief Scientific Adviser is responsible for:

  • ensuring that the department’s policies are supported by the best science and engineering advice available
  • advising ministers and senior officials on science and engineering matters
  • acting as head of the science and engineering profession within MHCLG

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government