Sir John Beddington was from 2008 until 2013 the Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) reporting directly to the Prime Minister.
As GCSA, he led on providing scientific advice to Government during the 2009 swine flu outbreak, the 2010 volcanic ash incident and the emergency at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011. He directed the Foresight team which had the responsibility to look forward and assess implications for major challenges in the future. Foresight reports under his helm included Global Food and Farming Future (2011) and Land Use Future (2010). As GCSA, he was also responsible for increasing the scientific capacity across Whitehall by encouraging all major departments of state to recruit a Chief Scientific Adviser.
In 2008 Sir John raised the concept of the “Perfect Storm” of food, energy and water security in the context of mitigating and adapting to climate change. He continues to work in the area. During 2011, at the request of the World Bank, he chaired an International Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change and recently took on the Co-chairmanship of an International Commission on Agriculture and Nutrition.
He is the Senior Adviser to the Oxford Martin School and Professor of Natural Resource Management at Oxford University. Amongst other activities he is a Non-Executive Director of the Met Office, a Trustee of the Natural History Museum and President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England.