MOD appoints first female Chief Scientific Adviser

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She will be the first female to hold the role and joins the Department as a distinguished academic with a commitment to science-driven policy. The MOD’s Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) oversees the Department’s core research programme, leads technology strategy, and works closely with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to develop battle-winning capabilities.

Recent CSA-funded successes include the launch of pioneering space technology, improved body armour for our personnel, and a life-saving test for sepsis.

Professor McLean is currently a Senior Research Fellow in Theoretical Life Science at All Souls College in Oxford University and has previously held a number of other academic appointments, including as a Research Fellow at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.

The announcement comes on the International Day of Women in Engineering, on which military personnel are undertaking engagement activities to increase female participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. This weekend the Army are holding an event in Northern Ireland with over 200 female cadets, while the Royal Navy and RAF will be promoting success stories to increase awareness of STEM career opportunities in the military.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

The Chief Scientific Adviser plays a key role in ensuring that our armed forces stay at the cutting edge of technology and innovation.

It’s poignant that we appoint Professor McLean as our first female Chief Scientific Adviser on International Women in Engineering Day, where we look to increase female participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

As a highly respected scientist, Professor McLean is a role model to all those wanting to pursue a career in this area, and will bring extensive knowledge and expertise to the role.

The Chief Scientific Adviser advises on all science and technology matters in Defence, oversees Defence Science and Technology (DST); and works closely with our international allies to build partnerships and tackle shared challenges.

The Chief Scientific Adviser directs Defence’s core research programme (set at 1.2% of the Defence budget) to develop and sustain cutting-edge capabilities for the armed forces, drive innovation, and reduce costs. This forms part of Defence’s £1.6bn annual investment in research and development under our NATO commitment to invest 20% of the Defence budget on equipment.

Professor Angela McLean said:

This is an exciting time to be joining the Ministry of Defence, with so much important research going on to keep our armed forces at the forefront of innovation and technology.

Britain’s military has a distinguished record in developing and using science and I plan to make sure that we continue to build on that tradition.

I hope to use my skills and experience from the range of issues I’ve worked on to continue our world-leading reputation in science and technology.

Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser said:

Congratulations to Professor Dame Angela McLean on her appointment as Chief Scientific Adviser to the MOD.

She has had a distinguished scientific career to date and will be a significant asset to the department, bringing deep expertise and broad experience across science.

I would like to extend a warm welcome from me and the network of Chief Scientific Advisers across government, and I look forward to working with her.

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