I am interested in the relationship between science and policy.
Between 2005 and 2015 I was the Principal of Jesus College, Oxford University. From 1988 to 2005 I held a Royal Society Research Professorship in the Edward Grey Institute. I served as the first Chairman of the UK Food Standards Agency from 2000-2005 and as Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council from 1994-1999. Earlier in my career I was a Demonstrator in Ornithology at the EGI, Assistant Professor of Zoology at the University of British Columbia, Lecturer in Zoology at the University College of North Wales, Bangor, and Lecturer in Zoology in the EGI. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the Medical Academy of Sciences, a member of Academia Europaea and of the Max Planck Society, an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Foreign Member of the American Philosophical Society, and Foreign Honorary Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, Member of the German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina). I am an Honorary Life Member of the British Ecological Society and the German Ornithological Society. I served as Chairman of the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee from 2010-2014 and as Chairman of the UK Science and Technology Honours Committee from 2008-2014. I was President of the British Science Association in 2012. I was a member of the Climate Change Committee and Chairman of its Adaptation Sub Committee between 2009 and 2017. I served as and a member of the House of Lords Energy and Environment Select Committee from 2015-19, and chaired the Select Committee on Food, Poverty Health and the Environment from 2019-2020. I am currently a member of the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee. I am also a consultant to Marks & Spencer plc and Drax plc. I co-founded and am Chairman of Oxford Risk Ltd. I have received 17 honorary degrees from universities in the UK and Canada.