DECC Chief Scientific Advisor

David MacKay

David  MacKay



David MacKay was appointed as Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) on 1st October 2009. The Chief Scientific Advisor’s role is to ensure that the Department’s policies and operations, and its contributions to wider Government issues, are underpinned by the best science and engineering advice available.

David MacKay studied Natural Sciences at Trinity College, then went to Caltech to complete a PhD in Computation and Neural Systems. In 1992 he returned to Cambridge as a Royal Society research fellow at Darwin College. In 1995 he became a university lecturer in the Department of Physics, where he was promoted in 1999 to a Readership and in 2003 to a Professorship in Natural Philosophy. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 2009.

In 2013 David Mackay was appointed Regius Professor in Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Regius Professorships are Royal academic titles, created by the monarch. The Engineering role is a new Regius Professorship, announced in 2011 to celebrate the Duke of Edinburgh’s 34 years as Chancellor of the University.

David is the author of the critically acclaimed book, ‘Sustainable Energy – without the hot air’, which aims to help people understand the numbers around sustainable energy.

DECC Chief Scientific Advisor

The Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) is responsible for:

  • making sure key policy and planning decisions in DECC are evidence-based
  • agreeing a feasible, affordable and deliverable plan to meet the Department’s 2020 and 2050 targets
  • developing an effective knowledge management system
  • supporting innovation where government involvement is justified
  • providing advice on climate science
  • accurate reporting of national greenhouse gas emissions
  • acting as Head of the science and engineering profession for DECC
  • supporting the recruitment of additional engineering and scientific skills into the department

Help us improve GOV.UK

Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.