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Public Policy Committee

British Academy Public Policy Committee

Public Policy Committee

The Academy’s public policy programme of work is overseen by the Vice-President (Public Policy), Professor Genevra Richardson FBA, drawing on advice from the Public Policy Committee (PPC). The Committee is chaired by Professor Richardson and includes Fellows as well as external stakeholders amongst its members.

Current Public Policy Committee membership:

Professor Genevra Richardson FBA CBE (Chair)
Mr James Bowler, HMT
Professor Margot Brazier FBA OBE QC (Hon) FMedSci FRSA
Professor Sir John Curtice FBA FRSA FRSE
Professor Sarah Curtis FBA FAcSS FRGS
Professor Anthony Heath FBA CBE
Baroness Ruth Lister of Burtersett FBA CBE FAcSS
Dr Helen McCarthy, QMUL, BARSEA recipient
Professor Tariq Modood FBA MBE FAcSS
Mr Ray Shostak, EIC
Professor Tim O'Riordan FBA OBE DL
Professor Dame Fiona Reynolds HonFBA DBE
Professor Sarah Whatmore FBA FAcSS

Committee member biographies:

Professor Genevra Richardson FBA CBE (Chair)

Genevra has been Professor of Law at King's College London since 2005. Before coming to King's she was Professor of Public Law at Queen Mary, University of London. She has a long-standing interest in law and psychiatry. In 1998-9 she chaired the Expert Committee established by the Department of Health to advise ministers on the reform of mental health legislation. In recent years she has conducted research into the assessment of mental capacity with a team from the Institute of Psychiatry. She has been a member of Council of the Medical Research Council and the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council and a trustee of the Nuffield Foundation. She is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Mr James Bowler, HMT

James was appointed Director General, Public Spending May 2017, he oversees £800bn of public spending across Whitehall and the public services; working with government departments on spending allocations and delivery, including signing off large projects through the Major Project Review Group, he is Joint chair of the Finance Leadership Group. James was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) in the 2012 New Year Honours.

Professor Margot Brazier FBA OBE QC (Hon) FMedSci FRSA 

Margot is Professor of Law at the University of Manchester. Her expertise is in researching legal issues in medicine, including medical ethics. She has chaired a number of high profile commitees such as the Animal Procedures Committee and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics Working Party on The Ethics of Prolonging Life in Fetuses and the Newborn. She has previously been Editor of the Medical Law Review and was a practicing barrister. She was appointed a member of the Queen's Counsel (honoris causa) in 2008 and became a Fellow of the British Academy in 2014.

Professor Sir John Curtice FBA FRSA FRSE

Professor Sir John Curtice is Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, and Senior Research Fellow, NatCen Social Research. He has written extensively about voting behaviour in elections and referendums in the UK, together with British and Scottish political and social attitudes more generally. He has been a co-editor of NatCen’s annual British Social Attitudes reports series for over twenty years, is a regular contributor to British and international media coverage of politics in the UK, and is a regular speaker on attitudes towards public policy in the UK.  Curtice is also Chief Commentator at two websites, and, that provide a comprehensive collection of materials on public attitudes towards (i) how Scotland should be governed, and (ii) the UK’s relationship with the EU.

Professor Sarah Curtis FBA FAcSS FRGS

Sarah is Professor of Health and Risk at Durham University. Her research explores how and why places matter for people’s health. Her publications explore how social, economic and geographical processes in the places where we live are linked to our physical and mental health. Sarah also works on environmental hazards, especially those associated with climate change, and their impacts on human health and health care. She has worked for organisations and agencies such as the World Health Organization, NHS Sustainable Development Unit, Department of Environment of Food, and Rural Affairs, Environment Agency, Improvement and Development Agency and the Department of Health UK; Public health agencies across England; the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy, Canada.

Professor Anthony Heath FBA CBE

Anthony is Co-Director of the Centre for Research into Elections and Social Trends, and is Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology, University of Oxford. He is a Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College. His main research activities have been collaborative work with Robert Andersen exploring the electoral cycle, the contextual effects of social class, regional differences in voting behaviour, and political knowledge. With other colleagues in CREST Anthony has obtained a grant from the ESRC to study national identity and constitutional change in England (as part of the ESRC's Devolution and Constitutional Change Programme). His other research interests are the sociology and politics of ethnicity and nationalism, social inequality, and the sociology of education.

Baroness Ruth Lister of Burtersett FBA CBE FAcSS

Ruth worked for the Child Poverty Action Group From 1971 to 1987 and as director for the last 8 years. She joined the Department of Social Sciences after 6 years as Professor and Head of Department of Applied Social Studies, Bradford University.  Between 2005 and 2007 she spent some time at the University of Glasgow as the first Donald Dewar Visiting Professor of Social Justice.  She retired in October 2010 and joined the House of Lords as a Labour peer in February 2011.  She was elected hon president of CPAG in December 2010.  She currently sit on the Joint Committee of Human Rights, the board of the Smith Institute and is vice-chair of the Fair Pay Network and a patron of JustFair.  In the past she has sat on a number of independent commissions, the National Equality Panel and the Community Development Foundation, as well as numerous other voluntary organisation and research advisory committees.  In 2010 she received a life-time achievement from the Social Policy Association.  In 2005 she was co-recipient of the Queens Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education awarded to the university for its contribution to social policy.

Dr Helen McCarthy, QMUL, BARSEA recipient

Helen joined Queen Mary University of London in September 2009 as Senior Lecturer in History. She studied History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, followed by a year at Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar. She worked briefly for the think-tank Demos before completing doctoral studies at the Institute of Historical Research. In 2008-9, she held a Junior Research Fellowship at St John’s College, Cambridge. Her research covers modern British history including internationalism in the 20s and 30s, and the trajectories and roles of British female diplomats since the 19th century.

Professor Tariq Modood FBA MBE FAcSS

Tariq Modood is Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy and the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University of Bristol. He was made a MBE for services to social sciences and ethnic relations in 2001, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2004 and elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2017. He was a Robert Schuman Fellow at the European University Institute for part of 2013-15, a ‘Thinker in Residence’ at the Royal Academy of Flanders, Brussels in 2017. He served on the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, the National Equality Panel, and the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life. His latest books are Essays on Secularism and Multiculturalism (2019); and as co-editor Multiculturalism and Interculturalism: Debating the Dividing Lines (2016) and The Problem of Religious Diversity: European Problems, Asian Challenges (2017). His website is

Professor Tim O'Riordan OBE DL FBA

Tim is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. He received an OBE in 2010, is a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Norfolk, and served as Sheriff of Norwich (2009-10). He holds an MA in Geography from the University of Edinburgh, an MS in Water Resources Engineering from Cornell University, and a PhD in Geography from the University of Cambridge. His research interests include the institutional aspects of global environmental change, policy and practice, better governance for sustainability, and the evolution of sustainability science partnerships. His work relates to designing future coastlines in East Anglia in England so that they are ready for sea level rise and the creation of sound economies and societies for a sustainable future.

Mr Ray Shostak, EIC

Ray works internationally as an adviser to governments on improving public service performance and was previously Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Director General HMT and Director of Children, Schools and Families for Hertfordshire County Council. Ray is currently a member of the Board of the National Audit Office; Honorary Norham Fellow, Oxford; Chair of the Council of Voluntary Adoption Agencies; and Trustee of the Early Intervention Foundation.

Professor Dame Fiona Reynolds HonFBA DBE 

Fiona became Master of Emmanuel in 2012. Prior to this, she was Director-General of the National Trust from 2001. Before her position with the Trust, she was Director of the Women’s Unit in the Cabinet Office and was previously Director of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (now Campaign to Protect Rural England) and Secretary to the Council for National Parks. Fiona is a Non-Executive Director of the BBC and since December 2012 has been the Senior Independent Director of the Executive Board. She is also a Non-Executive Director of Wessex Water. Fiona was appointed CBE for services to the environment and conservation in 1998. Fiona was appointed DBE in 2008.

Professor Sarah Whatmore FBA FAcSS

Sarah is a Professor of Environment and Public Policy at Oxford University. She is a Professorial Fellow at Keble College. She was The University’s Champion for Public Engagement with Research 2015-2017 and is currently Head of the Social Sciences Division at Oxford. She is a member of the Science Advisory Council to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Chair of its Social Science Expert Group; a member of the Science Advisory Group established to advise the Cabinet Office’s National Flood Resilience Review (2016), and a member of the Board of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.

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