Home Office appoints Cambridge professor as chief scientific adviser

Written by Tamsin Rutter on 25 August 2017 in News

Statistician John Aston replaces Bernard Silverman to advise department on a range of issues

Aston will advise ministers and officials in the Home Office. Credit: Steve Cadman

The Home Office has appointed a new chief scientific adviser, John Aston, who will ensure that departmental decisions take science and engineering evidence into account.

Aston joins government on 4 September from the University of Cambridge, where he is professor of statistics, specialising in applied statistics. He recently stepped down after two years as a trustee of the Alan Turing Institute.

He has also held academic positions at the University of Warwick and Taiwan-based Academia Sinica.

Aston replaces fellow statistician Bernard Silverman, who retired earlier this year after seven years in the role. 


Aston said he was honoured to join the Home Office.

“I’m looking forward to working with the scientific community to understand the issues facing the department over the coming years and identify how science, engineering and analysis can help to overcome those challenges,” he added.

Commenting on the appointment, Patsy Wilkinson, second permanent secretary at the Home Office, said: “Professor Aston brings with him a wealth of experience that will be of great value in ensuring the work we do to keep our country safe and secure continues to be supported by the latest scientific advice and research.”

Aston will offer advice directly to ministers and officials, and will liaise with the Chief Scientific Adviser’s network to advise on cross-departmental issues.

Mark Walport, the government chief scientific adviser, said: “Having access to high-quality expert scientific advice is critical to every government department. I am delighted to welcome someone with Professor Aston’s expertise to the Chief Scientific Advisers’ network and look forward to working with him.”

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Tamsin Rutter
About the author

Tamsin Rutter is senior reporter for Civil Service World and tweets as @TamsinRutter

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