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About us

Sense About Science is governed by the Board of Trustees, which meets quarterly. Sense About Science currently employs a Director, Tracey Brown, and a Programme Manager, Ellen Raphael. The Board and staff are supported by an Advisory Council, which is a voluntary network providing time and advice. Sense About Science's work is also supported by some of the learned and professional societies, scientific and medical organizations, which contribute in many ways to our objectives.

Sense About Science's Objectives are:

1. To advance the education of the public in any branch of scientific research (including social science) and to disseminate useful information about research.
2. To promote social understanding of, and interest in, the creation, presentation and use of scientific research.

Sense About Science raises funds through invited donations, to fund projects and cover the cost of a small staff, from professional and learned societies, companies, trusts, research bodies and individuals.

For more information about contributions to Sense About Science click here.

Board of Trustees
Lord Taverne QC (Chair)
Dick Taverne studied philosophy and ancient history at Balliol College, Oxford. He became a lawyer (Queen's Counsel), a Member of Parliament and served as a Minister from 1966 to 1970, first in the Home Office and then the Treasury, where he was Financial Secretary. In the early 1970s he launched the Institute for Fiscal Studies, now one of the most respected institutes in Britain. He has served on the boards of several international companies. In 1993 he founded a think tank, The Public Policy Centre, which later became a consultancy, Prima Europe, specialising in economic and political analysis. In 1996 he was appointed to the House of Lords. In recent years he has become interested in science and society and founded Sense About Science in 2002. He was elected President of the Research Defence Society in 2004. He was a member of the House of Lords Committee on the Use of Animals in Scientific Procedures and is currently a member of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee. He is the author of The March of Unreason – science, democracy and the new fundamentalism, to be published by Oxford University Press in March 2005.

Professor Dame Bridget Ogilvie FMedSci FRS (Vice-Chair)
Bridget Ogilvie initially studied agriculture in Australia and then undertook research on the immune response to parasitic infections with the UK Medical Research Council before joining the staff of the Wellcome Trust, from which she retired as Director in 1998. She is now a Visiting Professor at UCL from where she is involved in a range of non-executive activities in the fields of science, education and their interaction with the public.

Professor Janet Bainbridge OBE
Janet Bainbridge is passionately interested in making science accessible and in 2000 was awarded the OBE for services to science. She sits on the OneNorthEast Science and Industry Council. She was Chair of the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes until 2003. She is Chair of the GM Organisms (contained use) Advisory Committee and Chair of the British Potato Council Research Committee.

Dr Shereen El Feki
Shereen El Feki has been Healthcare Correspondent for The Economist since 1998. She writes on the life sciences, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, international healthcare policy and biomedical ethics. She holds an MPhil in biochemistry and a PhD in molecular immunology from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick
Michael Fitzpatrick has been a General Practitioner in Hackney, London for the past 15 years. He has written on a wide range of medical and political subjects for both medical publications and the mainstream media. He is Health Editor of the on-line magazine spiked and writes for the British Journal of Medical Practice. He is the author of The Tyranny of Health (Routledge 2001) and MMR and Autism: What Parents Need to Know (Routledge 2004).

Ms Diana Garnham
Diana Garnham is Chief Executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities. She is involved in a wide range of other committees and advisory groups within higher education, health and science and the voluntary sector. She has written for both science and general publications on subjects as diverse as the national lottery, public debate and engagement in medical science and the management of intellectual property. Her academic background is in politics and international affairs.

Professor Sir Brian Heap CBE FRS
Brian Heap, Vice-President of Academia Europaea, editor of Philosophical Transactions B of the Royal Society, was Master of St Edmund's College, University of Cambridge, Vice-President and Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, Senior Visiting Scientist in the School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, Director of the Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research (Cambridge and Edinburgh) and Director of Science at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Swindon. Special Professor at the University of Nottingham, was a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, the Expert Group on Cloning at the Department of Health, and works on developing country issues, particularly in China.

Professor Chris Leaver CBE FRS
Chris Leaver has a strong interest in the public understanding of science and has been actively involved in the current debate on genetically modified crops in the UK and Europe. In 2000, he was awarded the CBE for services to plant sciences. He is currently Sibthorpian Professor of Plant Science, Oxford University, Head of Department and a Fellow of St John's College. He is a Trustee of the Natural History Museum and also the John Innes Foundation and serves on the Council of the John Innes Centre. He is Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Biochemical Society.

Sir John Maddox FRS
John Maddox is a physicist and science writer. He is Editor Emeritus of Nature, and the author of What Remains to be Discovered (Macmillan 1998). He is currently editor of the Foundation for Science and Technology Journal.

Dr Peter Marsh
Peter Marsh is a chartered psychologist, a Director of MCM Research Ltd and a Director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford, a not-for-profit organisation which focuses on positive aspects of human behaviour and the communication of science and health issues. His research has included work on football fans, pub violence, non-verbal behaviour and the psychology of the motor car and driving.

Dr Mark Matfield (Treasurer)
Mark has a PhD in molecular genetics from the University of Leicester, following which he conducted post-doctoral research in virology before taking a management position at the Medical Research Council Head Office. From 1988 to 2004 he was Executive Director at the Research Defence Society, which represents the scientific community in the public and political debate about animal experimentation in 1988. He is currently Director of the European Biomedical Research Association and Scientific Consultant to the Association for International Cancer Research.

Baroness O'Neill of Bengarve
Onora O'Neill has degrees from Oxford and Harvard, and has taught in the United States and at the University of Essex. She has been Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge since 1992. She writes on ethics and political philosophy, with particular interests in international justice, the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and bioethics.

Dr Christie Peacock
Christie Peacock is a professional animal scientist and Chief Executive of the development agency FARM-Africa, which is involved in practical research and development projects in East and South Africa. On joining FARM-Africa, she ran a goat development project in Ethiopia, leading to the publication of "Improving Goat Production in the Tropics". She is a member of the Wellcome Trust Advisory Committee on Animal Health in the Developing World and is a board member of the International Goat Association.

Lord Plumb of Coleshill DL
Henry Plumb has played a leading role in international agriculture, development projects and British farming for over four decades. He was President of the National Farmers Union throughout the 1970s and Chairman of the British Agricultural Council. He was MEP for the Cotswolds until 1999 and President of the European Parliament from 1987 to 1989. He was made a life peer in 1987.
Members of the Board of Trustees sit as individuals, not as representatives of any other organisation.

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Advisory Council

Professor John Adams
University College London

Mr Richard Ayre

Mr Peter Bell
Former controller of policy, BBC News

Professor Sir Colin Berry FMedSci

Professor Colin Blakemore FMedSci FRS
Medical Research Council

Professor Sir Robert Boyd FMedSci

Professor Derek Burke CBE

Professor Peter Campbell
University College London

Professor Sir David Carter FMedSci
The British Medical Association

Professor John Coggins
Biochemical Society

Professor Phil Dale
John Innes Research Centre

Professor Adrian Dixon FMedSci
Royal College of Radiologists

Dr Simon Festing
Research Defence Society

Dr Ron Fraser
Society for General Microbiology

Dr Nicola Gray
Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Lord Hunt of Chesterton FRS

Lord Jenkin of Roding

Professor Trevor Jones CBE

Professor Sir Peter Lachmann FRS FMedSci
Cambridge Centre for Veterinary Science

Dr Stephen Ladyman MP

Ms Prue Leith OBE

Dr Robin Lovell-Badge FRS
MRC National Institute for Medical Research

Professor Julian Ma
St George's Hospital Medical School

Professor Alan Malcolm
Institute of Biology

Professor Vivian Moses
King's College London

Professor Sir Keith Peters FRS PMedSci
The Academy of Medical Sciences

Dr Matt Ridley FMedSci

Professor Raymond Tallis
University of Manchester

Professor Anthony Trewavas FRS
University of Edinburgh

Lord Turnberg of Cheadle FMedSci

Dr Roger Turner

Professor Michael Wilson
University of Warwick

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Tracey Brown
Tracey Brown has been the Director of Sense About Science since shortly after it was established in 2002. She has a background in social research, particularly on the social dynamics of risk, together with experience of organising research projects in the social sciences. She spent four years working on the establishment of an EC-funded regional research and academic teaching centre in Kazan, Russia, while based at the University of Kent; she spent a year in a more commercial research environment as an analyst, setting up a research unit for crisis management specialists. She is a regular contributor to public and media debates about science and progress.

Ellen Raphael
Ellen Raphael has a degree in Sociology and an ESRC-funded Masters degree in Social Research from the University of Kent. Since graduating, she has worked as an information officer for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, then as a researcher at Regester Larkin, a crisis management agency. She has worked in a freelance capacity for the Coalition for Medical Progress, before becoming Programme Manager at Sense About Science in July 2003. Ellen is particularly interested in the profile of young scientists in science debates and heads the Young Science programme.


Jobs @ Sense About Science

Sense About Science is looking to recruit a Membership Coordinator.


Read an article about the origins of Sense About Science by Ellen Raphael from a recent issue of HealthWatch news.

'Back in 2001, we had debates about mobile phones ‘frying your brain’, genetically modified ‘Frankenstein foods’, the MMR vaccine, experiments using animals, and the dangers of cloning. Scientists were often marginal, and scientific evidence and data had even less of a presence…'


Sense About Science,
60 Cambridge Street, London, SW1V 4QQ
Tel: +44 (0)1795 591975
Registered Charity No. 1101114