Lords Science Committee to quiz new Government Chief Scientific Adviser

20 May 2013


The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will tomorrow take evidence from Sir Mark Walport, the Government’s new Chief Scientific Adviser. They will also hear from a representative of the Royal Society and Dr Hermann Hauser on the value of investment in science, particularly in the context of the current spending review.

The first session with Sir Mark Walport will see the Committee question him on his five priorities for his time in office, including ensuring scientific knowledge translates to economic growth and leadership for science. Members will also ask him whether he sees his role as one that should challenge the government where its policy does not follow expert scientific advice - for example in areas such as drug policy and the provision of homeopathic medicines on the NHS.

The Committee will also discuss the criticisms Sir Mark has faced for his article in the FT on bees and neonictinoid pesticides.

Following this session the Committee will hear from Dr Herman Hauser, entrepreneur and venture capitalist, and Professor John Pethica, Vice-President of the Royal Society. The Committee will ask about the economic benefits of science spend, whether the science budget should be ring fenced at a time of public spending cuts, and whether there are risks to the UK’s world class science base if science spend remains at its current level.

The evidence sessions will start at 10:40am on Tuesday 21 May with evidence from Sir Mark Walport. The second session will start around 11:40am. Both sessions will be in Committee Room 4 of the House of Lords.

The session will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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