Gov appoints two women and three men to Council for Science and Technology

Female research pioneers Professor Joyce Tait and Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser join council

The government has appointed five new members to its Council for Science and Technology, two of whom are women and three of whom are men.

Professor Joyce Tait and Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, alongside Professor Max Lu, Suranga Chandratillake and Professor Sir David Cannadine will present current science and technology issues to the prime minister.

They join 16 existing members to bring the total to 21, 13 of whom are men and eight of whom are women. The female appointments contrast the Science and Technology Committee, which earlier this month revealed eight appointments, all male MPs. Committee chairman Norman Lamb later stated "we must have women on the committee", and later Conservative MP Vicky Ford joined the committee.

On the council, as professor and director at the Innogen Institute at the University of Edinburgh, Tait can contribute insights around natural and social sciences to prime minister Theresa May, while Leyser, professor of plant development at the University of Cambridge and director of the Sainsbury Laboratory in Cambridge, will advise on matters relating to genetics and wider biological concerns.

"This appointment promises to be influential, particularly at a time when the government is refining its industrial strategy in the context of the Brexit decision," Tait said. "My application emphasised the work done with Innogen Institute colleagues at the OU and Edinburgh Universities on regulatory adaptation to meet the needs of advanced innovative technologies, particularly in life sciences."

As president of the British Academy, Cannadine is expected to advise Theresa May on issues of urban development and the structure of power in British towns, while Chandratillake is an expert in technological innovation. Lu will contribute his knowledge around materials chemistry and nanotechnology, and engineering.

"The five new members of the Council for Science and Technology bring with them a breadth of experience and expertise which will enable the Council to continue to provide excellent advice to government on science and technology opportunities and challenges," Sir Mark Walport, the government's chief scientific adviser said. "This will help ensure the UK remains at the forefront of global science."

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