Sir Patrick Vallance will step down as government chief scientific adviser next spring, he has confirmed.
The adviser, who played a key role in guiding the government during the Covid-19 pandemic, will finish his fixed five-year term in April 2023.
Vallance said the role had been “both challenging and immensely rewarding”, adding that science and engineering “remain vital for the future prosperity of the UK, and high-quality evidence and science advice should be at the heart of all government decision making”.
He said leaving at the end of his term is an “important way to ensure independence”.
Vallance said he remains fully committed to the role until a successor is appointed. Recruitment will be launched shortly, the Government Office for Science said.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said it is “impossible to fully convey” the impact that Vallance has had as chief scientific adviser, praising him for his role in the rollout of Covid vaccines.
Vallance, who was president of research and development at pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline before taking on the GCSA role, is joining the Natural History Museum board of trustees in October and will become chair of the board next year.
He also previously advised government as a member of the UK Ministerial Industry Strategy Group.
The scientist became a household name during the coronavirus pandemic, regularly appearing at the government’s Covid briefings.
The GCSA advises the prime minister and government on all matters related to science and technology. Their job is to ensure that policies and decisions are informed by the best scientific evidence and strategic long-term thinking.
The role-holder is also head of GO-Science and the government science and engineering profession and co-chair of the independent Council for Science and Technology.