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June 17, 2009

Wales to get chief scientific adviser

Wales is to have its own chief scientific adviser for the first time, the Assembly government has announced.

First minister Rhodri Morgan, who also acts as the Welsh science minister, has agreed that the assembly government would benefit form the advice of a top-level scientist as it continues its own science strategy, independently of Whitehall.

The decision follows a 2008 review, which was commissioned by Morgan as a first step to assessing whether or not an independent CSA would be needed.

Chris Pollock, the former director of the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research in Aberystwyth and author of this report, has been widely tipped for the role.

Morgan was expected to make a decision on appointing a CSA as early as last December, but reportedly delayed the announcement over funding worries. However, now apparently looking to a more financially stable future, Morgan said in a statement that appointing a CSA would help efforts to “encourage the knowledge, skills and enterprise to strengthen businesses in Wales ahead of the global economic upturn”.

The adviser will report directly to Morgan, making recommendations on promoting science, technology, engineering and maths in Wales, and on general policy making.

The Welsh CSA will be expected to act as a link between UK CSA John Beddington and the Welsh government.

The assembly will begin the recruitment process for the CSA position immediately.


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