DHSC names new chief scientific adviser

Lucy Chappell will take on some of chief medical officer Chris Whitty’s health department work
Prof Lucy Chappell DHSC

By Jim Dunton

21 Apr 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care has named Prof Lucy Chappell as its new chief scientific adviser following a recruitment process for the £120,000-£160,000-a- year role that launched four months ago.

Chappell will take on some of chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty’s work at the department, effectively splitting his current role. Whitty kept his responsibilities as the department's chief scientific adviser when he became chief medical officer in 2019, but DHSC said last year it always intended to appoint a new chief scientific adviser.

Chappell is currently professor of obstetrics at King’s College London, honorary consultant obstetrician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and a senior investigator at the National Institute for Health Research.

In her new director-general level role, Chappell will lead the NIHR in partnership with the director of DHSC’s science research and evidence directorate. DHSC said she would have responsibility for research policy, research management and delivery of a £1.3bn research budget.

DHSC said Chappell would take up her new post in August and undertake it on secondment to government while continuing some clinical and academic work. 

Whitty, who Chappell will report to at DHSC,  said his successor as chief scientific adviser had an “excellent track record” of leading wide-ranging collaborative research to improve health outcomes on both a national and international level.

“I am very pleased that she will be taking on the chief scientific adviser role and look forward to working with her in my ongoing role as chief medical officer,” he said. 

“The chief scientific adviser works with remarkable people in NIHR, academia, the life sciences sector and across government and I hope Prof Chappell enjoys it as much as I have.”

Chappell said that at a time when the health and social care communities had worked so hard in response to the pandemic, she saw her new role as an “enormous opportunity” to help shape the next stages of improving lives through science and research in the UK. 

“I am excited at the prospect of working with many excellent colleagues around the country towards this common goal,” she said.

According to DHSC, the chief scientific adviser’s core strategic roles roles are: to transform the delivery of services; improve health outcomes; drive economic growth through life sciences; and underpin the UK’s international science capability.

Civil Service World reported last year that the department had agreed to pay £40,000 to executive search firm Saxton Bampfylde if it successfully identified the chosen candidate for the chief scientific adviser post. The fixed fee was to include expenses – but not VAT – and would only be paid out under certain conditions. They were redacted in the contract documents.

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