The Burntwood Lecture 2019 with Professor Sir Ian Boyd

Tuesday, 19 November 2019 - 6:15pm to 9:30pm
Institute of Physics, 37 Caledonian Road London N1 9BU

Having recently stepped down from his position as Chief Scientific Advisor at Defra after seven years of service, Professor Sir Ian Boyd will share his extensive knowledge and experience of working in the UK government at this critical time. 

Within his lecture Sir Ian will set out the structure of three dominant discourses about the future of the environment and why these are foundational to the future of the health and wellbeing of people. It will examine each in turn and suggest that we need to understand the different solutions they suggest. The rate of consumption is at the heart of the environmental challenge. We need a set of policies which explicitly slow resource dissipation. There is no easy way to resolve this and there are critical trade-offs which dictate the choices we need to make; material consumption-waste reduction and land consumption-biodiversity loss. To re-balance these trade-offs, our economic thinking and actions need to shift substantially towards demand-side solutions.

This year's speaker

Professor Sir Ian Boyd is a biologist based at the University of St Andrews who has spent much of his career researching marine and polar science. He described the functional relationship between the rate of marine resource consumption, by fisheries for example, and the impact on ecosystems. His research also extended to the effects of specific human activities like oil and gas development and anti-submarine warfare on the marine environment.

Sir Ian spent seven years as the Chief Scientific Adviser on food and environment in the UK, based in Defra. In this role, he produced a number of influential reports on waste and resources and the future of the seas. He was also responsible for leading the re-design of the science advice process within Defra and played a pivotal role in the response to the nerve agent attack in Salisbury in 2018.

He has been highly recognised for his achievements throughout his career and awarded the Bruce Medal for polar science in 1995, the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London in 1998, the Polar Medal by the Queen in 2017 and most recently received a Knighthood as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2019. His current interests lie in developing models of sustainability to support new policies.

Our Chair

Jill Rutter was a senior civil servant in Defra, No.10 and the Treasury. She is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government where she directed the Institute's work on better policymaking, including the use of evidence and science advice on government. She has also overseen the Institute for Government's Brexit programme and work on arm's length bodies.  






The Burntwood Lecture is returning to London on the 19th of November. This flagship event provides an opportunity for an eminent speaker to talk on a current, critical and often controversial environmental theme. The invited audience, numbering around 140, come from the environmental professions, universities and government. Join us for an evening of networking, drinks and canapés.






The IES aim to provide events, conferences and workshops which are accessible to all. If you anticipate needing any type of assistance to fully participate in this event, please email Rhianna Jarvis on or call +44 (0)20 3862 7484 to speak to somebody in person.

Who to contact

Rhianna Jarvis

Events & Training Lead

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