How the Council for Science and Technology makes a difference

An overview of the work of the Council for Science and Technology

Lights over Europe

Since it was established in 1993, the Council for Science and Technology (CST) has written more than 50 reports for the Prime Minister and senior officials. These reports have covered a wide range of topics from science funding, infrastructure and governance to robotics, automation and artificial intelligence. Their most recent advice on International Research and Innovation Collaboration helped inform the development of the International Research and Innovation Strategy.

Some of the Council’s most high-profile impacts include:

• encouraging the establishment of a national institute to promote advanced research and translational work in algorithms and the application of data science. This has now been set up as The Alan Turing Institute, linking over 400 researchers and 13 university partners

• the 100,000 Genomes project to help diagnose and treat over 100 rare diseases and cancers through genome sequencing, which was inspired by CST’s advice on the NHS and innovation on the NHS and innovation describing developments in genome science and human genetics and the opportunity to deliver new diagnostic methods and innovative products

• CST proposed a review of long term investment environment after looking into factors that help UK science and technology companies to grow. The Patient Capital review, concluded in 2017, led to the launch of the £2.5 billion British Patient Capital programme to enable long term investment in innovative UK companies.

The Council for Science and Technology is the Prime Minister’s independent advisory body on cross-cutting science and technology issues. It is chaired by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser and an independent co-chair, currently Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of Manchester University. Members are leading figures in the science and technology community, including presidents from the other national academies and UKRI (ex officio), and representation from academia and key high-tech businesses. Senior officials from BEIS and HM Treasury attend as observers.

A full list of Members’ biographies and recent reports are available.

Members serve 3 year terms and are recruited via open competition via the public appointments website.