Sir David King
Sir David King is the Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment at the University of Oxford. He is currently Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, Senior Scientific Advisor to UBS and Science Adviser to President Kagame of Rwanda.
He also serves as Chair of the UK National Oceanography Centre Advisory Board; as Governor and Council Member of the Ditchley Foundation; as a member of the European Research Area Board; as a Trustee of the Ecological Sequestration Trust; and is a Member of the Sustainability Advisory Board of DSM, Holland. He is a non-executive director of Midatech Limited and Green Exchange LLC. He also works with President Gorbachev on Green Cross International (CCTF).
He was the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office of Science from October 2000 to 31 December 2007. In that time, he raised the profile of the need for governments to act on climate change and was instrumental in creating the new £1 billion Energy Technologies Institute. He gave over 300 talks on climate change at venues around the world between 2002 and 2007. In 2008 he co-authored The Hot Topic (Bloomsbury) on this subject. As Director of the Government’s Foresight Programme, he created an in-depth horizon scanning process which advised government on a wide range of long term issues, from flooding to obesity. He also chaired the government’s Global Science and Innovation Forum from its inception. He advised government on issues including the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic of 2001; post 9/11 risks to the UK; GM foods; energy provision; and innovation and wealth creation. He was also heavily involved in the Government’s Science and Innovation Strategy 2004-2014.
Sir David was born in South Africa in 1939, and after an early career at the University of Witwatersrand, Imperial College and the University of East Anglia, he became the Brunner Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Liverpool in 1974. In 1988 he was appointed 1920 Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and subsequently became Master of Downing College (1995-2000), Head of the University Chemistry Department (1993-2000), and Director of Research in the Department of Chemistry (until September 2010). He has published over 500 papers on his research in chemical physics and on science and policy, and has received numerous prizes, fellowships, and honorary degrees.
Sir David was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991, Honorary Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1998 and Honorary Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002. He was knighted in 2003 for his work in science, and received the award of “Officier dans l’ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur” from the French President in 2009 for his work on climate change and on negotiating the international agreement to build the world’s largest technology project, the ITER fusion reactor.