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Science campaign faces change as director leaves

Imran Khan is to leave his job as director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering to become chief executive of the British Science Association.

Khan has been director of CaSE since 2010, and will begin at the BSA on 2 April. Roland Jackson, the BSA’s current chief executive, is to take up a visiting fellowship at the Royal Institution.

“It’s been a huge privilege to lead CaSE and I’m a bit sad to be leaving,” Khan told Research Fortnight Today. “But when I was approached about the British Science Association job it seemed like an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”

Khan said returning to science communication work appealed to him. “I’m really passionate about changing public life and making science a bigger part of our culture. CaSE is fantastic at letting me do that in a political sense but BSA is just a much bigger organisation so, although it doesn’t have a political focus, I hope it’ll mean I can have more influence on the areas I’m passionate about.”

CaSE intends to begin recruiting Khan’s successor later this month. The process will be led by Hugh Griffiths, chairman of CaSE.

“A change of leadership is a challenging time for any organisation, but it’s also an opportunity for CaSE to once again take a fresh look at how best we can influence public policy on behalf of our members” said Griffiths.

Those interested in applying are advised to check CaSE’s website over the next few weeks.

Commenting on the challenges that will face CaSE’s next director, Khan said: “I suppose the obvious one is that in 2015 there will be the next general election—the first since we had the cuts to science in the 2010 spending review, so representing the academic and broader science community and making sure that all the political parties engage with our concerns, and show a long-term commitment to science in the UK, will be critical.”

CaSE also today announced the appointment of six trustees. Among them is Stephen Curry, a professor of structural biology at Imperial College London, vice chairman of the pressure group Science Is Vital, and a campaigner for open access.

He is joined by two other scientists, photonics researcher Maria Ana Cataluna from the University of Dundee, and climate scientist Emily Shuckburgh, from the British Antarctic Survey and the University of Cambridge.

The three other trustees are Yvonne Baker, director of the National Science Learning Centres, which supports science teachers, Richard Davis, head of research and development for group risk at Lloyds Banking Group, and James Lawford Davies, a lawyer specialising in the life sciences.

The six new trustees will join the eight existing members of CaSE’s board of directors.