Board of trustees

Sense about Science is governed by a board of trustees. Members of the board of trustees sit as individuals, not as representatives of any other organisation.

Mr Jonathan Bruun (Chair)

Jonathan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, where he is responsible to the Board of Trustees for the strategic leadership of the College, including the implementation and delivery of the College’s mission, values and strategic plan. Prior to joining the College, Jonathan led the British Pharmacological Society as CEO from 2012-2019, having previously held the position of Director of Communications and Business Development. He was also the first Managing Director of BPS Assessment Ltd, a company specialising in patient safety education and assessment resources for a global market. Before beginning his career in non-profit healthcare and STEM organisations, Jonathan worked in communications, television production, and as an actor.

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 Paul Hardaker

Paul Hardaker is a mathematician by background whose PhD and early research work focused on radio propagation through the atmosphere. He worked at the Met Office for 14 years in a variety of roles including the Met Office’s chief advisor to government, providing support to the government in areas such as climate change policy, the civil contingency programme and the UK’s Public Met Service. He was chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society between 2006 and 2012 and is currently the chief executive of the Institute of Physics. He was chairman of the NERC directed programme on the Flood Risk from Extreme Events (FREE) and holds a visiting professorship at the University of Reading and previously the University of Salford. For five years Paul was also a non-executive director on the Board of Berkshire West Primary Care Trust and actively involved with local and regional healthcare initiatives.

Dr Anjana Ahuja

Anjana Ahuja is a contributing writer at the Financial Times, specialising in commenting on the ethical, political and social implications of science. She also contributes to Prospect, Radio Times and BBC Newsnight, has made BBC Radio 4 documentaries, and was a staff writer at the Times for 16 years. She is a former school governor, and has previously advised the Royal Society, the British Science Association and the British Council. She is a member of Speakers for Schools, an educational charity that connects state schools with public figures. She was named Best Science Commentator in the 2013 Comment Awards and has been shortlisted for the 2016 awards. She has a PhD in space physics from Imperial College London, on the structure of the interplanetary magnetic field between Earth and Jupiter.

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).

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge FRS

Robin Lovell-Badge obtained his PhD in embryology at University College London in 1978. After postdoctoral research in Cambridge and Paris, he established his independent laboratory in 1982 at the MRC Mammalian Development Unit, UCL. In 1988 he moved to the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, becoming head of division in 1993. He has had long-standing interests in the biology of stem cells, in how genes work in the context of embryo development, and how decisions of cell fate are made. His current research is on sex determination, development of the nervous system, and the biology of stem cells within the early embryo, the CNS and the pituitary. He is an honorary professor at UCL, a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Hong Kong, president of the Institute of Animal Technology, and serves on several advisory committees. He is also active in both public engagement and policy work, notably around stem cells, genetics, human embryo and animal research, and the way science is regulated and disseminated.

Dr Julie Maxton

Dr Julie Maxton is the executive director of the Royal Society. Before taking up her position at the Royal Society in 2011 Julie was registrar at the University of Oxford where she is an honorary fellow of University College. Originally trained as a barrister at the Middle Temple Julie combined a career as a practising lawyer with that of an academic, holding a number of senior academic positions, including those of deputy vice chancellor, professor and dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Julie is the author of numerous articles concerned with trusts, equity, commercial and property law. Julie is a bencher of the Middle Temple, a freeman of the Goldsmith’s Company, a board member of Engineering UK, the Charities Aid Foundation, Haberdasher Aske’s School and of the International Advisory Board of the Blavatnik School of Governance at Oxford University.

Mr Nick Ross

Nick Ross read psychology at Queen’s University Belfast and later became a doctor of the University (honoris causa). He has been a leading broadcaster across a wide range of issues. He helped to change the climate of science reporting in the early 90s with an influential series of articles critical of media portrayal of science, and has been a member of the Committee on Public Understanding of Science and twice chairman of the Science Book Prize. He is a regular speaker at science meetings, is president of HealthWatch which campaigns for evidence-based medicine, is a supporter of the Campbell Collaboration, the international partnership to improve scientific methodology in the social sciences, and he founded the new discipline of Crime Science. He is an honorary fellow and visiting professor at UCL.

James Wren

James Wren is fundraising director at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). He is directly responsible for the global fundraising strategy for ZSL which enables the charity to carry out its vital role. James leads the teams at ZSL that work with trusts & foundations, corporations and individual supporters in the UK and overseas. With twenty years’ experience in the not for profit sector in fundraising, project management, marketing and trustee roles James aims to engage as many individuals with good causes as he can. Prior to his career in the not for profit sector James had roles in retail, event management and banking.

Wim van Saarloos

Wim van Saarloos is an emeritus professor of theoretical physics at Leiden University in the Netherlands. After obtaining his PhD at Leiden University in 1982, he worked as a member of staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories in the USA before returning to Leiden University in 1991. His research interests are soft condensed matter and nonequilibrium systems. He was the co-founder and long-time director of the Lorentz Center, an international workshop centre in the natural sciences. From 2009-2015 he was the director of the physics foundation FOM and led the preparation of the restructuring of the national science funding NWO. Since 2016, van Saarloos has been back at Leiden University, while serving first as vice president and then as president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). At the European level Wim is active within the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), of which he will serve as president from 2023-2025.


Lord Taverne

Dick Taverne studied philosophy and ancient history at Balliol College, Oxford (First Class Honours). He was called to the Bar in 1954 (appointed QC in 1965), became a Labour member of parliament in 1962 and served as a minister from 1966 to 1970, first in the Home Office and then the Treasury, where he was Financial Secretary. In 1972 he resigned from the Labour Party and was re-elected as an independent social democrat. 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 1996 he was appointed to the House of Lords. In recent years his main political interest has been science and society. He founded Sense about Science in 2002, which he chaired for 10 years until 2012, wrote The March of Unreason – Science, Democracy and the New Fundamentalism (Oxford University Press, 2005) and was voted by the Association of Science Writers as Parliamentary Science Communicator of the Year, 2005. Lord Taverne became a patron of Sense about Science in April 2012.

Dr Janice Taverne

Janice Taverne is a microbiologist/parasitologist/immunologist who was supported by the Medical Research Council for most of her working life. She read zoology at Oxford, and after acquiring a PhD in the bacteriology department of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, she worked on trachoma at the Lister Institute of Medicine and then on malaria in the Department of Immunology at the Middlesex Hospital, which became UCL. When she retired she wrote a monthly column for 7 years on internet discussions for Parasitology Today (which became Trends in Parasitology). She has since worked as a volunteer at the Entomology Department of the Natural History Museum learning about parasitic wasps (and acted as her husband’s editor and adviser on scientific matters). Dr Janice Taverne became a patron of Sense about Science in April 2012.