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Former IChemE President Appointed Chief Scientific Advisor

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IChemE past president, John Perkins CBE, has been appointed as the chief scientific advisor to the UK government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Every government department has their own chief scientific advisor to ensure that all policies are informed by robust science and engineering advice.

The key objectives for BIS are to stimulate economic growth and develop the UK’s manufacturing industry.

Perkins’ prolific background in chemical engineering will serve him well in his latest role; he served as IChemE president in 2000, was the vice president and dean of the engineering and physical sciences department at the UK’s University of Manchester from 2004-2009, and before that a professor of chemical engineering and head of the chemical engineering and chemical technology department at Imperial College London.

Most recently, he served as provost of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi from 2009-2010.

The university was established in 2007 as a hub for research into alternative energy and sustainability.

IChemE ceo, David Brown welcomed the news: "John Perkins' appointment is extremely welcome. He will bring a wealth of interdisciplinary expertise and experience to a department that has a crucial role in supporting sustainable growth and skills supply across the economy, and in backing the resurgence in manufacturing. As a chemical and process engineer, he will be especially able to help Ministers understand how engineering and science interact with economics to lay the foundations for a successful industrial and business base into the future."

Perkins succeeds physicist Brian Collins, who completed his three-year term as chief scientific advisor in May 2011 and left to become the professor of engineering policy at University College London.

David Willetts, UK science and universities minister, said: “At BIS we are leading work across government to rebalance the economy and support the development of the high-tech industries and jobs of the future. High quality advice is the essential foundation to making good decisions about how to achieve the step change Britain needs.”