Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

NHM chair appt – Patrick Vallance

Natural History Museum appoints Patrick Vallance as chair.

Eleanor Mills, Natural History Museum appoints Patrick Vallance as chair, Museums Association, 1 February 2022

The government’s chief scientific adviser during the pandemic will take over in early 2023.

Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser during Covid, will join the board of the Natural History Museum, London, in October. He will take over as chair from Stephen Green in early 2023.

Vallance advised the prime minister and the cabinet on critical scientific matters around understanding the risks and mitigation of Covid-19 and prioritising vaccine development from the outset of the pandemic. His appointment on the museum’s board of trustees is endorsed by the prime minister and secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport.

Vallance was also the chief scientific adviser to Cop26 and leads the Net Zero Innovation Board for government.

From 2012 to 2017, Vallance was the president of research and development at the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and was the senior vice president of medicines discovery and development at the conglomerate prior.

Prior to joining GSK, Vallance was a clinical academic, professor of medicine and led the Division of Medicine at University College London.

He was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999 and to the Royal Society in 2017.

His experience of basic and clinical research as a consultant physician in the NHS, together with personal research that has spanned from medicinal chemistry and structural biology to cellular work, studies in humans and large databases to explore cardiovascular disease, put him in a position to bring his wealth of experience in industry, academia and scientific communication to the Natural History Museum.

Patrick Vallance said: “I have loved the museum since first visiting as a young child. It inspired me to pursue a career in science and continues to inspire wonder in visitors of all ages as well as being a world-leading scientific research institute. I am hugely looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to its continuing success.”

Douglas Gurr, the director of the Natural History Museum, said: “The Natural History Museum is well known as a much-loved visitor attraction but is also a world-leading scientific research centre working on solutions for the planetary emergency – from biodiversity loss to climate change. We are thrilled that Sir Patrick will be joining to drive forward our mission of creating advocates for the planet and building a world in which both people and planet can thrive.”

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Sir Patrick Vallance has been an extraordinary, dedicated servant to the nation during the coronavirus pandemic. He is an excellent appointment by the Natural History Museum. He will bring a wealth of experience to help the museum take its important work forward and inspire more people from all backgrounds to pursue an interest in natural history.”


Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
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