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Science in Government: Challenges for the 21 st Century. Professor John Beddington Chief Scientific Adviser to UK Government and Head of the UK Government Office for Science Campaign for Science and Engineering, London 10 December 2009. Report to the Prime Minister and Cabinet

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science in government challenges for the 21 st century

Science in Government:Challenges for the 21st Century

Professor John Beddington

Chief Scientific Adviser to UK Government and

Head of the UK Government Office for Science

Campaign for Science and Engineering, London

10 December 2009

the role of the chief scientific adviser to hm government
Report to the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Responsible for the quality of all engineering and scientific advice across the whole of Government

Lead a network of departmental Chief Scientific Advisers

The role of the Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government
  • Head of the Science and Engineering Profession in the Civil Service
  • Supported by the Government Office for Science who have a cross-Government challenge and support role
slide3

Chief Scientific Advisers

Ministers

and Permanent Secretaries

Research

Councils

Chief Scientific Advisers’

Committee (CSAC)

CSAC

Issues Group

Engineering institutions

e.g. RAEng

Engineers x3

Social Scientists x4

Natural Scientists x8

Engineers x3

Social Scientists x1

Natural Scientists x5

Science

Institutions, e.g. Royal Society

Government Scientists and Engineers

the science and engineering profession in government
The Science and Engineering Profession in Government

Role as Head of the Science and Engineering Profession

  • Ensuring the contribution of engineers and scientists is recognised and valued in Government
  • Providing support to career development activities and professional skills
  • Community of Scientists and Engineers across Government
  • To join the GSE contact: GSE@bis.gsi.gov.uk

GSE@bis.gsi.gov.uk

slide5

Global challenges for science and engineering in the 21st Century

 Urbanisation

 Population

Food security

Alleviating poverty

 Energy demand

 Water demand

Climate Change

Counter-terrorism

Biodiversity

Non-infectious diseases

Infectious diseases

slide6
New variant A/H1N1 first confirmed.

A random viral reassortment resulting in a new strain

mixture of swine (pig), human and avian influenza viruses.

Not clear where, when or in what host this occurred

Virus may have been circulating in Mexico for some time

Reassortments happen all the time. Occasionally the new virus

May become more transmissible

May become more severe

May switch host target.

Mexico, 23 April 2009

Image of HN1N virus

Source – US CDC influenza laboratory

day 2
Day 2

(from official confirmation of the first identified case in Mexico)

slide13

Using science to manage Swine Flu in the UK government

Civil Contingencies Committee in COBR

Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies

(SAGE)

Clinical Countermeasures

Behaviour & Communication

Modelling

Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)

slide14

Increased demand

50% by 2030 (IEA)

Energy

Climate Change

Food

Increased demand

50% by 2030

(FAO)

Water

Increased demand

30% by 2030

(IFPRI)

The Perfect Storm?

  • Increasing population
  • Increasing levels of urbanisation
  • The rightful goal to alleviate poverty
  • Climate Change
increasing population and urbanisation by 2030
Increasing population and urbanisation by 2030

World population by region

Urban and rural populations of the world (at mid-year) 1950 - 2050

Source: United Nations, World Population

Prospects: The 2006 Revision (medium scenario)

Source: United Nations, World Urbanization Prospects: 2008 (revision)

slide16

Increased demand for food and energy

World primary energy demand by fuel

World food requirements

Total world energy demands are predicted to increase by approx. 50% by 2030 (Source: IEA 2008: Reference Scenario)

World food production must rise by 50% by 2030 to meet increasing demand (Source: UN 2008)

slide17

By 2030:

Agricultural production

More people means less cultivated land per person

for food, feed, (agro)-fuel and fibre production

2030 – 8.3 bn people

2030 – even less farmland per person

lowest level of grain reserves since the 1970s
Lowest level of grain reserves since the 1970s

Stock to use ratio, % of all grains and oilseeds

Source: Thirtle, unpublished

the challenge
The challenge

Need:

50% more production on less land, with less water, using less energy, fertiliser and pesticide …

…by 2030

… whilst not increasing GHG emissions

biotechnology can help provide solutions
Biotechnology can help provide solutions

GM may also provide future solutions, notably for improved drought and saline tolerance; and resistance to pests and disease

Current losses due to pests and diseases worldwide

Plants grow in an oasis next to the desert in Dunhuang, Gansu province

  • Genomics to provide targeted and predictive non-GM plant breeding (e.g. for yield, sustainability, quality)
  • Work on crop improvement e.g. increased disease resistance
slide21

UK Cross Government Food

Strategy

Food Strategy Task Force

(Cabinet Office chair)

Research Strategy Subgroup

(GCSA Chair)

Other subgroups e.g. Vision (Defra chair)

Food Research Partnership

Industry

Academia

Public Sector

slide22

Other expert advice

The Council of Food Policy Advisers (CFPA)

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)

The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC)

Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and Environment (COT)

research councils and the food supply chain

Food supply chain

Agriculture & Food research

> Production > Manufacture >

Distribution > Consumer > Health

& Trade

Research Councils and the Food Supply Chain
slide24

Opportunities for science and innovation

  • The new TSB Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform will see investment of up to £90 million over the next five years.
  • It will focus on:
  • Crop productivity including protection and nutrition
  • Sustainable livestock production
  • Waste reduction and management
  • GHG Reduction technologies and Methodologies
slide25

Increased demand

50% by 2030 (IEA)

Energy

Climate Change

Food

Increased demand

50% by 2030

(FAO)

Water

Increased demand

30% by 2030

(IFPRI)

The Perfect Storm?

  • Increasing population
  • Increasing levels of urbanisation
  • The rightful goal to alleviate poverty
  • Climate Change
slide26

Global temperature rise

+2°

  • PROBLEMATIC
  • 1 - 2 billion additional people with water stress
  • Impacts on cereal productivity at low latitudes
  • Increased coastal flooding and storms
  • Greater depth of seasonal permafrost thaw
  • DISASTROUS
  • A 16 °C increase in the Arctic
  • 1.1 - 3.2 billion additional people with water stress
  • Widespread coral mortality; risk of major extinctions around the globe
  • Substantial global impact on major crops
  • Long-term prospect of sea level rise

+4°

slide27

+ 8 - 16 °C

+ 5 - 7 °C

+ 3 - 8 °C

+ 4 - 8 °C

Temperature ranges at + 4°C

Interactive map: www.actoncopenhagen.decc.gov.uk

Source: Met Office Hadley Centre

slide28

Europe + 2°C

1. High forest-fire danger.

2. Production of some cereal crops may increase.

3. Changes in rainfall patterns.

5. Drought events one and a half times as frequent.

8. Hottest days across Europe could be as much as 6°C warmer.

Source: Met Office

slide29

Europe + 4°C

1. High forest-fire danger

5. 70% reduction in river and stream flow

6. Sea-level rises and storm surges

11. Drought in Mediterranean basin

18. Hottest days of the year across Europe up to 8 °C warmer

Source: Met Office

slide30

Americas+ 2°C

1. High forest-fire danger

2. Production of some cereal crops may increase.

3. Changes in rainfall patterns.

7. Hottest days across eastern North America could be as much as 8°C warmer.

Source: Met Office

slide31

Americas+ 4°C

1. High forest-fire danger

5. 70% reduction in river and stream flow in South America

9. Disappearance of many glaciers in South America

15. Tropical cyclones more destructive

17. Hottest days up 10-12° over eastern North America.

Source: Met Office

slide32

Africa+ 2°C

1. High forest-fire danger

2. Production of some cereal crops may increase.

5. Drought events one and a half times as frequent.

Source: Met Office

slide33

Africa+ 4°C

1. High forest-fire danger

2. Maize and wheat yields reduced by 40%.

5. 70% reduction in river and stream flow in southern Africa

11. Drought twice as frequent in southern Africa

18. Hottest days of the year up to 8 °C warmer on Mediterranean coast

Source: Met Office

slide34

Our understanding of climate change: the 1930s

1935

In 1938 Callendar identifies a warming trend and argues that it was caused by human emissions of CO2

Source: Quarterly J. Royal Meteorological Society64, 223 (1938)

slide35

Understanding climate change: the 1960s & 70s

1975

Press speculation that the Earth could be heading for cooling rather than warming

Top left: Nigel Calder's 1974 book entitled The Weather Machine and the Threat of Ice

slide36

Understanding climate change: the 1980s to today

Hansen (US) and Wigley /Jones (UK) used statistical techniques to show global temperatures had been rising since the mid 1960s

  • First robust records of global temperature change
  • They accounted for ‘data gaps’ in the Southern Hemisphere and over the oceans
appropriate analysis
Appropriate analysis

Correct use of statistics

is critical for the

communication

of climate change

Source: Met Office

slide38

Is global warming due to human activities?

Source: Stott et al. External Control of 20th Century Temperature by Natural and Anthropogenic ForcingsScience, 2000, Vol. 290. no. 5499, pp. 2133 – 2137

Graph from Met Office Hadley Centre website

slide39

The Government Office for Science

The Prime Minister and Cabinet

  • Ministers
  • CSAs
  • OGDs
  • NGOs
  • Industry

Government Chief Scientific Adviser

BIS International

Science in Government

Team

Private

Office

Foresight

Team

  • GO - Science are housed in BIS but have an independent cross-Government role
  • GO - Scienceprovide scientific challenge and support to Departmental policy officials and for scientists across Government
slide40

Foresight Project:

Mental Capital and Wellbeing

  • This project aimed to use the best available scientific and other evidence to develop a vision for:
  • The opportunities and challenges facing the UK over the next 20 years and beyond, and the implications for everyone’s “mental capital” and “mental wellbeing”.
  • What we all need to do to meet the challenges ahead, so that everyone can realise their potential and flourish in the future.

The MCWB Lead Expert Group have recently published their expanded findings as an important reference work.

slide41

(A) Sustainably feeding the world under ever increasing resource pressures

(B) Increasing resilience to cope with a more volatile world

(C) Ending hunger

(D) Meeting the challenge of a low carbon world

(E) Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services while feeding the world

Foresight Project:

Global Food and Farming Futures

Reporting:

October 2010

slide42

(A) Survival migration

(B) Rapid changes in migration flows

(C) Concentrated migration

(D) New migration streams

(E) Changing distribution of urban centres

(F) Migration in the context of adaptation

Foresight Project:

Global Environmental Migration

Reporting:

September 2011

slide43

Global challenges for science and engineering in the 21st Century

 Urbanisation

 Population

Food security

Alleviating poverty

 Energy demand

 Water demand

Climate Change

Counter-terrorism

Biodiversity

Non-infectious diseases

Infectious diseases