Defra chief makes Whitehall take note

November 29, 2002

Howard Dalton was well aware of the challenge when he agreed to become the first chief scientific adviser for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Although Defra was a relatively new department, it had a bad name in scientific circles, largely inherited from the now defunct Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food with its year-on-year research budget cuts, demoralised staff and poor track record of dealing with catastrophes such as BSE.

Yet the appointment of the Warwick University professor of biological sciences to such a high rank has sent a signal across Whitehall that science matters. Almost 12 months on, and with the backing of ministers, Professor Dalton is confident that the message is getting through.

"Things are beginning to change," he said. "We are taking science and the underpinning of science much more seriously than we maybe have in the past and, while there are not going to be massive budget increases for anybody, I'm reasonably hopeful that the settlement will be better than it has been."

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns