Professor Sarah Harper, Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, and Professor of Gerontology at the University of Oxford, has been appointed by the Royal Institution of Great Britain (RI) as its new Director, as of 1 May 2017.
Professor Harper has been involved with the Oxford Martin School since its inception, both as Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, and Principal Investigator on the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food. Her academic background lies in anthropology, population geography, and population studies, and her early research focused on migration and the social implications of demographic change. After studying at Cambridge and Oxford, she trained with the BBC as a news and current affairs reporter and producer.
Her current research on demographic change addresses the global and regional impact of falling fertility rates and increasing longevity, with a particular focus on Asia and Africa. Her most recent book, How Population Change will Transform Our World, published in 2016 by Oxford University Press, was the second book in the Oxford Martin School's 21st Century Challenges series. She is working on her next book for Cambridge University Press on the interaction of population, environmental and technological change.
The Royal Institution, an independent charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science, was founded in 1799. Through the years, it has been home to a number of eminent scientists such as Michael Faraday, Humphry Davy and Kathleen Lonsdale, whose discoveries have helped to shape the modern world. Today it runs a variety of science-focused talks and activities, including its world-famous Christmas lectures; and preserves its scientific legacy through the Faraday Museum and archival collections.