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The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has appointed professor dame Angela McLean as its first female chief scientific adviser (CSA).
Under her new role, McLean will advise on all science and technology matters in the MoD, oversee defence science and technology and establish international partnerships in those areas.
The CSA directs the MoD’s core research programme, which accounts for 1.2% of the MoD budget and it is part of the its £1.6bn annual investment in research and development.
The aim of the programme is to develop and sustain capabilities for the armed forces and reducing costs, as well as driving innovation.
“The chief scientific adviser plays a key role in ensuring that our armed forces stay at the cutting edge of technology and innovation,” said defence secretary Penny Mordaunt.
“As a highly respected scientist, professor McLean is a role model to all those wanting to pursue a career in this area, and will bring extensive knowledge and expertise to the role,” she added.
McLean is currently a senior research fellow in theoretical life science at All Souls College in Oxford University. Her previous roles include a research fellowship at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.
Earlier this year, the MoD announced a multimillion-pound boost to a project that will see mini-drones and autonomous vehicles deployed to the battlefield.
New technologies will include mini drones, in-vehicle systems with remote-control capability that can be pushed ahead of manned vehicles in the battlefield, and autonomous vehicles that can perform tasks such as delivering supplies to troops in warzones.