First Female MOD Chief Scientific Adviser Appointed

Posted on June 24, 2019

“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,” said Prof McLean. “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.”

Professor McLean is currently a Senior Research Fellow in Theoretical Life Science at All Souls College, Oxford University. She 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.

“The Chief Scientific Adviser plays a key role in ensuring that our armed forces stay at the cutting edge of technology and innovation,” explained Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt. “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.”

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 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.

The Chief Scientific Adviser advises on all science and technology matters in Defence, oversees Defence Science and Technology and works closely with international allies to build partnerships and tackle shared challenges. This forms part of Defence’s £1.6bn annual investment in research and development under our NATO commitment to investing 20% of the Defence budget on equipment.

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