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News Release Date: 22 December 2005


Ministers have appointed 8 new members to give expert, independent science advice on science policy and strategy to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The now 16-strong Science Advisory Council will provide independent, strategic advice to Defra's Chief Scientific Adviser on scientific priorities and programmes, including horizon-scanning and long-range planning as well as dealing with immediate risks and opportunities.

Defra spends more than 300 million a year on science and research underpinning a broad range of policies including environmental protection, farming and food, animal and plant health, and sustainable energy.

The new members are:

The Science Advisory Council is chaired by Professor John Beddington CMG FRS Professor of Applied Population Biology at Imperial College, London. Professor Sir John Marsh CBE is Vice-Chair and is Governor of the Scottish Crop Research Institute and the Royal Agricultural College, and President of the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants. A full list of members is attached.

Professor Beddington said:

Professor Howard Dalton FRS, Defra's Chief Scientific Adviser, said: "The new members of the Council will also help to raise the profile of our science, and help the Council play its part in increasing trust and confidence among professionals and the public as a whole.


  1. The current SAC members are: Prof John Beddington (Chair); Prof Sir John Marsh (Vice-chair); Prof Christopher Gaskell, Professor of Small Animal Studies and Pro-Vice Chancellor, Liverpool University; Prof Philip Lowe, Director, Rural Economy and Land Use Programme of the UK Research Councils; Prof Thomas Meagher, Professor of Plant Biology, St Andrew's University; Prof Richard Mithen (standing down in April 2006), Head of Plant Food for Health, Institute for Food Research; Prof John Shepherd, Professor of Marine Sciences, Southampton University; Dr Andrew Stirling, Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow, Sussex University; Prof Jeffrey Waage, Head of Centre for Environmental Technology, Imperial College; Prof Mark Woolhouse (standing down in April 2006), Professor at Ashworth Laboratories, Centre for Infectious Diseases, Edinburgh University.
  2. The SAC is an independent non-departmental public body, established in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice and in line with the Nolan Principles of Public Life guidance.
  3. The remit of the SAC is to provide advice to the CSA and through him to Ministers on:
    the strategic direction of, and priorities for, Departmental science; the balance, relevance and adequacy of science activities supporting Departmental objectives; broad strategic issues, priorities and policies from a science perspective; and pressing science issues facing Defra.
    emerging challenges and opportunities, develop possible responses, and participate in horizon-scanning and long-range planning exercises.
    and act as an important source of advice to the CSA on national emergencies in Defra's areas of responsibility.
  4. Members of the SAC attend four full meetings a year and various sub-groups. They are paid a daily rate of 205 for attending meetings, 102.50 a day for preparatory work plus expenses.
  5. For more details go to
For more details contact the Defra press office on 020 7238 5610