Dr Joanne Hodges


Former Head of Science and Society, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS)
Policy Fellow Alum, Centre for Science and Policy

Joanne Hodges was until recently Head of the BIS Science and Society programme, which aims to tackle the barriers that prevent UK society from reaping the full and equitable benefits of science and technology. The definition of "science" the team uses is deliberately wide, encompassing physical, biological, engineering, medical, natural and social disciplines, including research in the arts and humanities, and does not differentiate between the creation of knowledge and its use.

The programme works with many partners and funds a range of programmes aimed at:

  • encouraging young people to study science and go into science careers
  • improving the diversity of the science workforce at all levels
  • improving public debate on science
  • using dialogue with the public to improve policy making.

Diversity is a strong cross-cutting theme of the entire programme. Joanne has been reviewing the programme in the last few months and (as part of her Policy Fellowship) is looking forward to getting answers to some of the tricky questions that have arisen during the course of the review.

After a degree in mathematics and a PhD in materials science, Joanne worked for Rolls Royce as an engineer before joining the then Department for Trade and Industry in 1989. Her first Civil Service job involved identifying medium-term trends in science & technology and assessing their potential impact on DTI policy. Since then, she has been science attaché in the British Embassy in Paris, acted as the DTI’s lead negotiator on climate change at Kyoto, developed substance misuse policy in the Home Office, and worked for the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, leading on improving the use of science in policy making across Whitehall.