Founder and Chair, Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge
From 2013 until 2017 he was appointed as the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change (SRCC). He was formerly Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford, and the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office of Science from October 2000 to December 2007. In that time, he raised the profile of the need for governments to act on climate change and was instrumental in creating the new £1 billion Energy Technologies Institute. In 2008 he co-authored The Hot Topic (Bloomsbury) on this subject.
As Director of the Government’s Foresight Programme, he created an in-depth horizon scanning process that advised government on a wide range of long-term issues, from flooding to obesity. He also chaired the Government’s Global Science and Innovation Forum from its inception. He advised government on issues including the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic of 2001; post 9/11 risks to the UK; GM foods; energy provision; and innovation and wealth creation. He was also heavily involved in the Government’s Science and Innovation Strategy 2004-2014.
Sir David was born in South Africa in 1939, and after an early career at the University of Witwatersrand, Imperial College and the University of East Anglia, he became the Brunner Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Liverpool in 1974. In 1988 he was appointed Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and subsequently became Master of Downing College (1995-2000) and Head of the University Chemistry Department (1993-2000). He has published over 450 papers on his research in chemical physics and on science and policy, and has received numerous prizes, fellowships, and honorary degrees. ‘Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, 1991; Foreign Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 2002; Knighted, 2003; and made Officier dans l’order National de la Legion d’Honeur, 2009.