Science & Environment

Birthday honours: Damehood for Anne Glover, former EC science chief

Anne Glover

The former chief scientific advisor to the European Commission, a post that was controversially axed late last year, has been honoured with a damehood.

Prof Anne Glover said she was "really pleased" when she received the news that she was to be included The Queen's Birthday Honours.

She told BBC News that she felt it was "recognition for the value of science".

On leaving the commission, Prof Glover went back to Aberdeen University.

There, she is the Vice Principal for External Affairs and Dean for Europe.

Many in the scientific community spoke out against the decision in November 2014 to scrap the chief advisory role, a post that Prof Glover had occupied since 2012.

The axing was implemented just as Europe's scientists were celebrating the success of the Rosetta mission, which successfully landed a probe on a comet - a remarkable symbol of what European research endeavour could achieve.

In the months that followed, the commission recognised the need for independent oversight, and announced that it would recruit a high-level panel of scientists to advise on policy.

'Making science visible'

During her time as chief scientific advisor, Prof Glover incurred the wrath of green groups with her open support for genetically modified crops.

But she said that she felt her greatest achievement during almost three years working with the commission was "stimulating interest in science advice for governments across the EU, and making science and the value it offers both culturally and practically very visible".

Prof Glover has also been a prominent advocate for women in science, and told the BBC that she hoped that other women scientists, and particularly young women, "look at me and think - if she can do that, so can I".

"I'm not special," she said, "just very interested in what I do."

Prof Glover added: "I hope all of my former lab members, my colleagues in the university, my colleagues at Scottish Government and at the European Commission raise a glass to themselves with this announcement, as it's for all of us.

"I'll be raising a glass to them and to Ian, my husband, as I understand very well that nothing is possible without the help and support of others."

Other prominent science figures to be honoured this year include the diabetes expert Frances Ashcroft, professor of physiology at the University of Oxford. She also becomes a dame.

And Harshad Bhadeshia - a professor of metallurgy at the University of Cambridge and a world-leading authority on steels - and Dr Philip Campbell - the editor in chief of the prestigious journal Nature - both become knights.

Related Topics