DEFRA has appointed Ian Boyd as its new chief scientific adviser.

Prof Boyd, currently director of the Scottish Oceans Institute at the University of St Andrews, will replace Robert Watson, who is leaving after five years in the post.

He will join DEFRA in September on a three-year contract, the department announced in a statement on Tuesday (24 April)

“I am delighted to be taking up this important position,” said Prof Boyd, commenting on his appointment.

“There are substantial future challenges ahead in biosecurity, food security and in responding to the effects of climate change, but the UK is well placed to meet these challenges.

“It has excellent scientific research and I look forward to helping stimulate this research community to even greater things in the future. I also look forward to listening to people’s concerns about the management of our environment.”

The chief scientific adviser sits on DEFRA’s board and is responsible for overseeing the quality of evidence which the department relies on for policy decisions.

He also provides ministers with scientific advice and sets the priorities for scientific research and evidence gathering.

DEFRA secretary, Caroline Spelman, said: “I have been immensely grateful for the scientific advice and oversight of all our research by Sir Bob, and I look forward to working with Professor Boyd to continue the department’s reputation for scientific excellence.”

Sir Robert previously held posts at the World Bank, the White House and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. No details were released about his future plans.