The efforts of the engineering community to create a more effective source of advice into government policy has been acknowledged in the House of Lords.

At a session of the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee (Tuesday 25 October), the Academy’s Chief Executive Philip Greenish was questioned on the role and function of Departmental Chief Scientific Advisors.

During the evidence session with the National Academies, Lord Willis, who as Phil Willis MP had chaired the IUSS Committee, praised the engineering profession for responding positively to a key recommendation of the Committee’s 2009 report on engineering. This had pointed to the need for the Academy to work with the profession to create a single point of access for government into engineering advice - which had led to the formation of the Engineering the Future alliance, now active across a number of areas of policy.

Commenting on the issue of appointing a chief engineering adviser, Philip Greenish said that government invitations for the Academy to support policy making had been very welcome and showed movement in the right direction. He added that because engineering issues had been taken into proper account early on in the process, the Academy would be less strident in its call for a chief engineering advisor.

Representatives from the British Academy and the Royal Society also gave evidence. The Select Committee will publish a report of its findings in early 2012.

Notes for editors

  1. House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee

    The Royal Academy of Engineering responded to the inquiry on behalf of Engineering the Future. As representatives of the engineering profession, with access to some of the best engineering skills and experiences, the Engineering the Future partners have a key role in supporting the work of the Departmental Chief Scientific Advisors as well as Professor Sir John Beddington CMG FRS, the Government Chief Scientific Advisor.

    DCSA Inquiry September 2011 (230.90 KB)

    The Committee inquiry is looking at the following aspects:
  • The ability of CSAs to provide independent advice to ministers and policy makers within their departments
  • The extent of their influence over research spend
  • Their role in providing independent challenge and ensuring that departmental policies are evidenced-based
  • The range of expertise provided by the network of CSAs
  • The extent to which CSAs have authoritative standing within relevant academic, industrial or business communities, including whether they have effective networks within those communities
  • The contribution of CSAs in promoting public trust in the independence and authority of science advice to government.
  1. Engineering the Future

    Engineering the Future is a broad alliance of the engineering institutions and bodies which represent the UK’s 450,000 professional engineers. We provide independent expert advice and promote understanding of the contribution that engineering makes to the economy, society and to the development and delivery of national policy.

    The leadership of Engineering the Future is drawn from the following institutions: The Engineering Council; EngineeringUK; The Institution of Chemical Engineers; The Institution of Civil Engineers; The Institution of Engineering and Technology; The Institution of Mechanical Engineers; The Institute of Physics; The Royal Academy of Engineering.
  2. The Royal Academy of Engineering

    Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Ed Holmes on 0207 766 0655