"Why science matters for policy" with Dr Patrick Vallance

20 November 2018

This talk is co-hosted by the Oxford Martin School, University College & Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, to celebrate their 20th Anniversary and is a continuation of the Trinity Term Series Science and Populism: from evidence to narrative

Science informs the work of government. This is becoming more important than ever, as we deal with the deep social transformations brought about by current technological developments, including automation and the data revolution, and prepare for further step changes, for instance quantum computing and synthetic biology.

These are changing the context within which policy is made. They create new challenges and opportunities for scientists, both inside and outside government, to make themselves heard in debates where their contributions are most relevant.

These developments have implications for policy makers and how they should interact with scientists, but also for the citizen. Science must be of the people, by the people and for the people, with diversity of background, culture, ideas and thought, if we are to tackle the problems that matter to society.

Dr Patrick Vallance FRS FMedSci FRCP is Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) and Head of the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) profession.

Patrick was President, R&D at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) from 2012 until 2017. Prior to this, he was Senior Vice President, Medicines Discovery and Development. He joined the company in May 2006 as Head of Drug Discovery. He was a member of the GSK Board and the Corporate Executive Team. Prior to joining GSK, he was a clinical academic, Professor of Medicine and led the Division of Medicine at UCL.

He has over 20 years’ experience of basic and clinical research, and was a consultant physician in the NHS. His research spanned from work on medicinal chemistry and structural biology, through to cellular work, studies in humans and use of large electronic health record databases.

He was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999 and to the Royal Society in 2017. He was on the Board of the UK Office for Strategic Co-ordination of Health Research (OSCHR) from 2009 to 2016. He is an Honorary Fellow at UCL and holds honorary degrees from Imperial College London, Glasgow University, University of York and St George’s, University of London. He was a non-executive director and board member for UK Biobank and a non-executive board member for Genome Research Limited but stepped down in taking up the GCSA role.