Diversity champion to be scientific adviser to UK business department

Diversity champion to be scientific adviser to UK business department

Julia Sutcliffe.jpg

The UK government has appointed a physicist, engineer and champion of diversity and inclusion (D&I) as the new chief scientific adviser to the Department for Business and Trade.

Professor Julia Sutcliffe (pictured) replaces Mike Short, the former O2 and Telefónica VP, and the first ever chair of the GSMA. Short retires from the job at the end of the month after more than five years.

She describes herself on LinkedIn as “chief technologist, engineer, professor, D&I champion, STEM advocate”. She also studied artificial intelligence at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sutcliffe, who is chief technologist at BAE Systems, said: “I hope to use the experiences from my career, alongside support from the UK’s scientific and industrial communities, to champion the UK’s science and technology excellence and partnerships globally.”

Short, who will be closing his government time at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next week, said: “This has been a uniquely stretching and fulfilling role and an unrivalled opportunity to contribute to public service.”

He began with BT in 1983 as contracts manager, moved on to its new mobile operation – then Cellnet, now O2 – and followed that as it became an independent company and was then bought by Telefónica, which he left at the end of 2017.

At Cellnet he was a board member of the GSMA and chaired the first MWC in Cannes in 1995.

He said of Sutcliffe: “Her strong technical, business and international background are perfectly suited to the … role. From our handover discussions, I have every confidence she will settle quickly and do a fantastic job, and I would only ask that you support her as much as you have helped me.”

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