Chair and members reappointed to the General Advisory Committee on Science

Posted: 23 December 2013 | Food Standards Agency | No comments yet

Appointments and reappointments are made in line with guidance on public appointments…

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The Food Standards Agency has reappointed Professor Colin Blakemore as Chair of the General Advisory Committee on Science (GACS). The FSA has also reappointed Professor Anne Murcott (expert member) and Mrs Leen Petré (lay member) to the committee. Each will serve a further three-year term of office, which will run to 31 December 2016.About GACS

GACS is an independent expert committee that provides advice and challenge to the FSA on its use and governance of science. The committee comprises:

  • seven directly-appointed members – the Chair, four expert members and two lay members
  • the Chairs of the seven scientific advisory committees that advise the FSA

Members of GACS are appointed by open competition. Appointments and reappointments are made in line with guidance on public appointments.

More information about GACS can be found via the links towards the bottom of this page.

Biographies of reappointed members

Professor Colin Blakemore FMedSci, Hon FSB, Hon FRCP, FRS (GACS Chair)

Professor Blakemore studied Medical Sciences at Cambridge and completed his PhD at the University of California in Berkeley. After 11 years in the Department of Physiology at Cambridge University, he became Waynflete Professor of Physiology at Oxford University from 1979 to 2007. From 1996 to 2003, he was Director of the MRC Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Oxford. His research has been concerned with many aspects of vision, early development of the brain and plasticity of the cerebral cortex. He was Chief Executive of the MRC from 2003 to 2007 and is now Professor of Neuroscience & Philosophy at University of London, Professor of Neuroscience at Oxford, an Honorary Professor at Warwick and Emeritus Professor at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore. He has been President of the British Neuroscience Association, the Physiological Society and the Biosciences Federation (now the Society of Biology).

Professor Blakemore was President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (now the British Science Association) from 1997 to 1998 and Chairman from 2001 to 2004. He is committed to promoting dialogue between scientists and the public, and is a frequent contributor to radio and TV, including the 13-part BBC2 series The Mind Machine. His books for the general public include Mechanics of the Mind (which won the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science), Images and Understanding, Mindwaves, The Mind Machine, Gender and Society and The Oxford Companion to the Body.

Professor Anne Murcott (expert member)

Professor Murcott is Professorial Research Associate at the Food Studies Centre, School of Oriental & African Studies in the University of London, Honorary Professor in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham, and Professor Emerita in Sociology at London South Bank University. Her research includes pioneering work in the sociology of food, a field in which she has been active nationally and internationally for 30 years. She is the author of numerous articles, has edited and co-authored nine books, and served as editor of The Sociology of Health & Illness.

From 1992 to 1998 she was Director of the ESRC Research Programme ‘The Nation’s Diet: the social science of food choice’. In addition to co-editing a tenth book, her activities still include PhD training/ supervision/ examining as well as service as advisor to research projects and postdoctoral work. A member of the FSA Advisory Committee on Research from 2002 to 2007, she served as a member of the Steering Panel for the Government Office for Science’s Review of the Food Standards FSA 2008 to 2009 and as Chair of the Review Panel of the Independent Review of the Controls on Infant Formula and Follow-on Formula, 2008 to 2010.

Mrs Leen Petré (lay member)

Mrs Petré is Senior Associate, Content Policy at Ofcom. She was Principal Manager of the Media and Culture Department at the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) until September 2013, and RNIB’s European Campaigns Manager from 2000 to 2004. Leen holds a degree in Political and Social Sciences and an MA in European Studies from the University of Leuven. After graduating, Leen built up 10 years of work on a range of international and European consumer issues, including food standards.

Since 2005, Mrs Petré has been Chair of the Consumer expert group on digital switchover, appointed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, DCMS, and consumer representative on the DCMS/BIS Ministerial group on digital switchover. Leen is a member of the Communications Consumer Panel and Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).