Pharma boss to be new UK chief scientific adviser

Patrick Vallance to take over from interim government adviser Chris Whitty from March next year

November 9, 2017
Downing Street

Pharmaceutical company boss Patrick Vallance has been confirmed as the next UK government chief scientific adviser.

The clinical pharmacologist, who previously led the medical division at UCL, is due to step down from his current role as head of research and development at British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

He replaces Sir Mark Walport, the previous permanent holder of the post who is now the new head of UKRI, and will take over from interim adviser Chris Whitty in March next year.

As chief scientific adviser Dr Vallance will advise the prime minister and cabinet members. He will also lead the Government Office for Science, promoting the use of scientific evidence in policymaking across government.

Responding to the announcement, Sir Robert Lechler, president of the Academy of Medical Sciences, said: “Patrick will bring a unique wealth of cross-sector experience and knowledge to the role. I extend my warmest congratulations to him and can sincerely say that we look forward to working with him in his new position.” 

Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, called Dr Vallance’s appointment an “outstanding choice”. 

At GSK, he showed exceptional scientific leadership and led moves towards greater openness and partnerships, recognising that the biggest societal challenges can be solved only by working together across all sectors, across borders and with society,” he added. “His appointment…comes at a critical time for UK science and I very much look forward to working with him in his new capacity.”

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