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BIS Chief Scientific Adviser


Professor Brian CollinsThe department's science and engineering activity is over seen by the BIS Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Brian Collins.

Professor Collins is also the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) for the Department for Transport and Professor of Information Systems at Cranfield University. His previous roles include International Director of Information Technology at Clifford Chance; Head of Information Systems at the Wellcome Trust; and Director of Science and Technology and Chief Scientist at GCHQ.

Collins' university research was in the field of astrophysics, specifically solar and laboratory spectroscopy. He has a special interest in information exploitation in modernising national infrastructure, particularly in transport and energy, and in the design and engineering of structured, secure and dependable knowledge and information management processes and systems.

The role of the departmental Chief Scientific Adviser is to ensure that BIS strategy, policy making and delivery is effectively informed by robust, relevant, high quality science and engineering evidence, advice and research.

The BIS Chief Scientific Adviser works closely with the Chief Economic Adviser and the Director General for Research Base and Science Policy to provide advice to Ministers. He reports to the Permanent Secretary and also supports the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor John Beddington.

The department and its agencies have a network of scientists, technologists and engineers. These staff help ensure our strategy and policy activity is informed by the best available evidence (including trends in technology development and innovation activity in the private sector) and that the Government can meet ongoing commitments in its role as a regulator (for example, specialist inspectors). To improve our analytical capability, BIS takes on a small number of staff each year through the Civil Service Science and Engineering Fast Stream.

The Chief Scientific Adviser is Head of Profession for scientists and engineers in BIS, ensuring that the department maintains and develops the in-house science and engineering expertise necessary to meet current and future challenges.

Minister responsible

David Willetts is the minister responsible for this policy area.