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John Beddington

speaker location icon London, UK

UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser (2008-2013)

Director of UK Government Foresight team tasked to look forward 10-40 years at future global challenges

Senior Advisor to Oxford Martin School, Oxford University

John Beddington started his studies initially at the LSE where he took a BSc and MSc.  He then moved to Edinburgh to do a PhD in what was then the rather new discipline of Mathematical Ecology.  His academic career was initially at York University and subsequently at Imperial College. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001 and appointed CMG in 2004.

He was from 2008 until 2013 the Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) reporting directly to the Prime Minister.  As GCSA, he was responsible for increasing the scientific capacity across Whitehall by encouraging all major departments of state to recruit a Chief Scientific Adviser.

During his time as GCSA he set up the Scientific Advisory Group in Emergencies (SAGE) that reported to the COBRA committee.  He ran the Foresight Team that reported on such varied issues as Food Security, Climate Change Threats and High Speed Financial Trading and was responsible for reviews on inter alia Nuclear Energy, High Speed Computing in Climate Science and the Scientific Contribution to National Security.

He was awarded a Knighthood in 2010 and in June 2014 received The Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese Government.

He is the Senior Adviser to the Oxford Martin School and Professor of Natural Resource Management at Oxford University.   Amongst other activities he is a Non-Executive Director of the Met Office (currently Acting Chair) and chairs the Systemic Risk Institute at the LSE.  He is President of London Zoo and a Trustee of the Natural History Museum.

Our Comment

"Sir John is one of the UK’s best communicators of science with experience on a range of far reaching issues. He gives excellent insight into long term trends and risks that will effect planning and life at all levels across the world."

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