Fiery past of MoD man

July 30, 2004

After six months of devoting a meagre one day a week to his job as director-general of the research councils, Sir Keith O'Nions is at last stepping down as chief scientific adviser at the Ministry of Defence to give the research councils his full attention. The MoD has yet to announce Sir Keith's successor, but The Times Higher can reveal that the controversial epidemiologist Roy Anderson will step into his shoes. Professor Anderson was made famous by the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001, when he acted as a key adviser to the Government. But he first hit the headlines a year before that, when he was suspended from Oxford University's zoology department for falsely alleging that a female colleague had slept with the head of zoology before gaining her post (he subsequently apologised in writing). His new appointment has been met with whispered criticism in some quarters, with some critics suggesting that neither involvement in scandal nor the culling of cattle is ideal preparation for handling one of the biggest research budgets in Government.

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