Howard Glennerster hit the headlines this week when he attacked the Labour government's spending record on higher education.
Despite prime minister Tony Blair's electoral platform of "education, education, education", government spending on schools, colleges and universities in Labour's first term of office was, at one point, the lowest share of national income since 1962, he told this week's British Association's science festival in Glasgow.
Glennerster is professor of social administration at the London School of Economics, an institution renowned for its influence over government policy. LSE director Anthony Giddens claims responsibility for the "third way" philosophy that informs government thinking.
Professor Glennerster is no stranger to Number 10, having attended seminars there and breakfasted with chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown. He is also co-director of the LSE's Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion, one of the government's favourite first-term policies.
An expert in the economics of education and training, Professor Glennerster is considered a pioneer in the study of the relationship between public spending and social policy.
His most recent study, Paying for Health, Education and Housing: How Does the Centre Pull the Purse Strings? , was co-authored with John Hills and Tony Travers. Professor Glennerster is a member of the health secretary's advisory committee on resource allocation and was a member of a Cabinet Office study group on work opportunities for people aged 50 to 65.
He graduated in politics, philosophy and economics from Wadham College, Oxford, in 1959. He then worked for the Labour Party research department before joining Claus Moser's unit at the LSE in 1964.