Accessibility statement

York researcher named as chair of UK government Science Advisory Council

Posted on 14 January 2022

Professor Alastair Lewis, of the Wolfson Atmospheric Science Laboratories, has been appointed chair of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Science Advisory Council (SAC).

Alistair Lewis

He succeeds Professor Lord Robert Mair, who stepped down as SAC Chair in late 2021. Professor Lord Mair is Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at University of Cambridge and has chaired the Council since its formation.


The Council was formed in 2014 to provide independent strategic advice to the DfT on key areas of science, social science, engineering and technology.

Professor Lewis’s research has long been closely linked to transport, including work on heavy duty diesel engine exhaust and issues associated with fuels, vehicle emissions and decarbonisation.

He said: “There are many fascinating topics for the Science Advisory Council to consider in the coming years, such as cleaner fuels that can support net zero, the integration of autonomous vehicles into our lives, and the security and resilience of transport systems.


“I’m very positive that the SAC can help the DfT use the latest science in their decision-making in all these areas. I was extremely pleased to be able to take on the role as chair of the SAC - the DfT is a department where science, engineering and technology are critically important, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to contribute to that.”

The DfT’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sarah Sharples, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Professor Lewis as the new Chair of DfT’s SAC. He brings a wealth of experience in research funding, policy and government engagement which will be hugely beneficial to his leadership of the SAC, as well as his expertise in air quality science and related policy issues. I very much look forward to working with him and SAC members to support the delivery of high-quality science and engineering advice to DfT.”