Robert May, a 59-year-old biologist based at Oxford University, pictured right, is to succeed Sir William Stewart as the Government's chief scientific adviser. He will also be head of the Office of Science and Technology.
Professor May, who takes up the post in September, is a Royal Society research professor with appointments at Oxford's zoology department and the department of pure and applied biology, Imperial College, London.
Born in Australia, Professor May trained as a theoretical physicist and has held posts at Harvard University and Princeton University. His research interests are population biology and ecology. He says that he would like to maintain some link with his research work when he becomes chief scientific adviser. Current topics of interest to him include theoretical immunology and biological diversity.