New government chief scientific adviser takes up post

Dr Patrick Vallance takes up post after appointment last November

Photo: Danny Lawson/PA 

By Richard Johnstone

04 Apr 2018

Dr Patrick Vallance, the former president of research and development at pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, has today started his role of the government's chief scientific adviser.

Vallance, who was named to the post last November, takes over from interim chief prof Chris Whitty, who has been in post since September following the departure of Sir Mark Walport to lead new public body UK Research and Innovation.

Vallance, who has previously advised government as a member of the UK Ministerial Industry Strategy Group, will provide scientific counsel to the prime minister and her cabinet.


Prior to his six years as GSK research president, Vallance was head of medicine at University College London.

He said that "harnessing the very best science and technology has never been more important to the UK’s economy, future and citizens".

He added: "Science and technology have a vital role to play at the heart of policy making and I look forward to working with colleagues to ensure the government has the best possible advice, from the best experts, based on the strongest evidence.

"It is essential that we have world class scientists and engineers working in government. Excellence can only be delivered by a diverse and inclusive profession. It will be a key priority for me to ensure we go further to improve representation across the profession."

Announcing the appointment in November, cabinet secretary and civil service head Sir Jeremy Heywood said Vallance was well placed to offer the best scientific advice to Theresa May.

“This is an excellent appointment for the civil service, in an important area of government business,” he said.

“I am also looking forward to the contribution Patrick will make in leading the science community across government, building on the great work of Sir Mark Walport, his predecessor.”

Welcoming Vallance to the post today, Heywood said also thanked outgoing interim chief science advisor Prof Chris Witty, for his excellent leadership of the Government Office for Science over the last six months.

Welcome to Patrick Vallance, who joins @UKCivilService today as the new @UKScienceChief. Thank you also to outgoing interim Chief Science Advisor Prof Chris Witty, for his excellent leadership of the Government Office for Science over the last six months.

— Sir Jeremy Heywood (@HeadUKCivServ) April 4, 2018

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