Dr Niall Mackenzie

Director, Consumer and Competition Policy at Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT)

Director, Consumer and Competition Policy, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Policy Fellow Alumnus, Centre for Science and Policy

Niall Mackenzie has been Director, Consumer and Competition Policy since September 2020. Previously, he was Director of Infrastructure & Materials, including construction and wider infrastructure issues in addition to his previous portfolio covering energy intensive industries, chemicals, agri tech and materials industries including steel. Key challenges he worked on included working on national industrial strategy and the extent to which Government can help UK based manufacturers and industry grow both UK and worldwide market share.

Niall is a career civil servant who has worked in seven government Departments over the past 25 years covering a wide range of policy areas – sport, tourism, broadcasting, gambling, health, and the environment – with a common thread of drawing on academic research wherever possible to support the development of public policy. His recent focus has been on carbon trading and market incentives for improving industrial and business energy efficiency.

Niall was previously the Director of Energy, Materials and Agri-tech in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS). In this role, Niall was responsible for delivery of the Government’s industrial strategy for four sectors – Nuclear, Offshore Wind, Oil & Gas and Agri-tech working closely with Department of Energy and DEFRA colleagues. His team sponsors the chemicals and metals industries and is focused on maintaining UK industrial competiveness within the framework of legislation to deliver the Government’s climate and energy goals.

Niall undertook the bulk of his fellowship in his previous role as Head of Industrial Energy Efficiency in DECC. He was responsible for policy development and delivery of a range of policy mechanisms –Climate Change Agreements, CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, and EU Emissions Trading System covering over 50% of UK CO2 emissions and all large energy users.

Previous posts included Head of the EU Emissions Trading System Unit (2006-8), Director, Transition Project, Gambling Commission (2005-6); Programme Manager, Physical Activity and Injury Prevention, Department of Health (2003-5); Head, National Stadium Unit, Department for Culture Media and Sport (2001-3); and posts in Cabinet Office, Office of Arts and Libraries and Central Statistical Office. He acted as Principal Private Secretary to Ministers for Sport and Tourism from 1993 to 1995. He holds a BA in Modern History from the University of Durham.

Niall’s original objectives for the Policy Fellowship were to gain insight into what current (and possible future) Cambridge research can tell him about how to encourage improvements in industrial energy efficiency (and also wider business). The limits of what can be achieved by regulation, particularly of heavy industry, may be near; if this is the case, innovative thinking is needed on how to make the next leap forward – in technology, operational practices, and (perhaps most importantly) changing business behaviour.