David Cleevely Annual Lecture: Professor Dame Angela McLean

23 March 2021, 5pm


How to be a Chief Scientific Adviser in government

Professor Dame Angela McLean, Chief Scientific Adviser, Ministry of Defence

The inaugural lecture of the CSaP Annual Cleevely Lecture Series was delivered online by Professor Dame Angela McLean, Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA), Ministry of Defence.
Angela McLean described what it is really like to be a Chief Scientific Adviser, in a role which is critical in defence and which has also involved the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can read a summary of the lecture here.

Angela McLean DBE FRS was appointed as the CSA for the Ministry of Defence in September 2019. Until April 2023, Angela McLean was a Professor of Mathematical Biology in the Department of Zoology at Oxford University and a Fellow of All Souls College. She took up the role of Government Chief Scientific Adviser in April 2023. She is also Head of the Government Science and Engineering Profession.

In her lecture, Professor McLean discussed the role of the CSA.

"The role of the CSA in the MOD was described under four headings in the job specification: Defence Strategy, Science and Technology, International and Cross-Government. It sounds pretty dry, but now that I have been in post for 18 months I can tell you what they *really* meant. In the process I will try and persuade you all to think about becoming a CSA yourself." Professor Angela McLean, then CSA in the MOD.

The CSA is MOD's principal adviser on science and technology, with responsibility for directing research through the MOD's core S&T research portfolio. The CSA reports to the Permanent Secretary, is a member of the Joint Requirements Oversight Committee (JROC) and the Investment Approvals Committee, and is Co-Chair of the Research Technology and Innovation Board (RTIB).

The David Cleevely Annual Lecture Series

The Cleevely Lecture is the new name for the CSaP Annual Lecture, which was first given by John Beddington (then GCSA) in 2011. Lectures since then have included Chris Whitty (2017), Ed Humpherson (2019) and last year, Sally Davies.

Dr David Cleevely was CSaP’s Founding Director from its inception in 2009 until he stepped down in 2015. We are very grateful to David for supporting and giving his name to this new lecture series.

Professor Dame Angela McLean

Government Office for Science (GO-Science)

Dr Rob Doubleday

Centre for Science and Policy, University of Cambridge

  • In news articles

    How to be a Chief Scientific Advisor in Government

    Professor Dame Angela McLean, Chief Scientific Adviser in the Ministry of Defence, delivered the inaugural CSaP Annual Cleevely Lecture, during which she spoke on the theme of ‘How to be a Chief Scientific Adviser in Government’.