Patrick Vallance, the UK's chief scientific advisor, is calling for more scientists to be part of the British civil service, the Guardian reports.
According to Vallance, 400 people were accepted to the Civil Service Fast Stream scheme between 2017 and 2018, but only about 40 of those individuals had science or engineering degrees. This, he tells the Guardian, "is unacceptably low." He adds that this lack of civil servants with science or engineering backgrounds puts the UK at a disadvantage as the government grapples with issues like climate change, an aging population, and more.
"If you look at a country such as China, you find its government is full of individuals who understand science and technology. That is not the case with Britain," Vallance tells the Guardian. "So it is essential that we put things right."
He calls for boosting that number to about 200 individuals with science or engineering degrees, according to the Guardian. This call, it adds, echoes one made earlier this month by Dominic Cummings, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief advisor, to recruit more mathematicians, physicists, and data scientists to the civil service.