MOD appoints first female Chief Scientific Adviser

Professor Dame Angela McLean has been appointed as the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) next Chief Scientific Adviser.

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.

Professor McLean joins the MOD at time of increasing pressure on budgets; resulting in a real drive to ensure that the investments made in research and technology (R&T) are effective, efficient and have the best chance of being pulled through to service.

In the role of CSA Professor McLean will direct 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. The CSA also leads the department’s technology strategy and works closely with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to develop battle-winning capabilities.

Industry is intricately involved with the delivery of the core research programme; from supporting Dstl-led work with expertise to hosting the MOD’s R&T work at world-leading research facilities. Engagement with industry in R&T work is critical to success, collaboration at this stage gives industry, especially SMEs, important work, increasing the collective knowledge of the UK, as well as a better idea of what capabilities may eventually be procured.

ADS looks forward to working closely with Professor McLean and helping the department deliver a research programme that both informs and innovates. Investment in R&T and innovation work is a core component of a healthy and vibrant national defence industry; close collaboration with industrial partners on research programmes gives international companies the confidence to invest in the UK. Likewise, R&T programme portfolios can be shaped to engage directly with a range of SMEs in a way that large procurement programmes can struggle to.

Alongside national R&T work it is important that the UK maintains a global vision for research collaboration. Engagement with initiatives such as the European Defence Fund (EDF) and the ongoing portfolio of research programmes led by the NATO Science and Technology Organisation (STO). ADS will continue to work with members and the MOD to expose UK SMEs to these opportunities and explore the benefits of cross-border R&T work. If you are interested in learning more about ADS’ work with the UK Defence Solutions Centre and Dstl on NATO STO panels please contact Andy Johnston.