Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, has been named as the next UK chief scientific adviser

Mark Walport, immunologist and director of the Wellcome Trust since 2003, has been named as the UK government’s next chief scientific adviser. Walport, who was considered the favourite candidate for the position, will replace John Beddington in April of next year.

The role of government chief scientific adviser is to be resposible for the scientific advice that the the government is given and the role reports directly to the prime minister and cabinet. Beddington was very visible last year, discussing the risks involved with the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, Japan.

Walport, however, is no stranger to advising government and currently sits on the prime minister’s council for science and technology. During his time at the Wellcome Trust, Walport has been a strong advocate for public engagement and open access, commiting the scientists the trust funds to publishing in open access journals and launching the Wellcome Collection building in London as a free venue that exhibits science and art.

In a statement, Walport described himself as ‘honoured and delighted’ at the appointment. ‘Science, engineering and technology have transformed the infrastructure of the modern world, and have a vital role to play at the heart of policy making,’ he added.