The Longitude Committee

Our Longitude Committee features experts from across the scientific world. They will judge all entries and decide which should win.

  • Lord Martin Rees [Chair]

    Astronomer Royal

    Lord Martin Rees

    Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, OM, Kt, FRS is a Fellow of Trinity College and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge. His decorated career in science, covering topics as diverse as black holes and the development of ‘multiverse’ theory, led to his elevation to a life peerage in the House of Lords, where he sits as a crossbencher. He holds the honorary title of Astronomer Royal, as well as being a visiting Professor at Imperial College, London and Leicester University. Lord Martin is the Chair of the Longitude Committee.

  • Prof Rifat Atun

    Professor of Global Health Systems at Harvard School of Public Health

    Rifat Atun is Professor of Global Health Systems at Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University, and Director of the Global Health Systems Cluster. In 2006-13, he was professor of International Health Management at Imperial College London, where he led the Health Management Group and remains a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Medicine. In 2008-12 Professor Atun served as a member of the Executive Management Team of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Switzerland as the Director of the Strategy, Performance and Evaluation Cluster.

  • Dr Ruth McKernan CBE

    Chief Executive, Innovate UK

    Ruth became Chief Executive of Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, in May 2015. She was formerly Chief Scientific Officer of Pfizer’s Neusentis unit and has worked internationally in the pharma and biotech sector, including with Pfizer and Merck.

    Scientifically, Ruth is best known for her publications and patents in neuroscience, however she has also won awards for science writing and is the author of a book for non-scientists, Billy’s Halo. Ruth was awarded a CBE for services to business and innovation in 2013. 

  • Andrew Cohen

    Head of BBC Science Unit

    Andrew Cohen - Head of BBC Science Unit

    Andrew is Head of the BBC's award-winning Science Unit. As Executive Producer, he has been intrinsic to the success of a wide variety of high-profile science programming, including Stargazing Live, Wonders of Life, Inside the Human Body and the multi-award winning Wonders of the Solar System. He began a five year spell as the Editor of Horizon in 2005, leading over 100 films for BBC Two, ranging from consumer science to hard-hitting journalism. He has been recognised for his work, including winning an award from the Royal Television Society.

  • Gareth Davies

    Director General, Knowledge and Innovation in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

    Gareth is the Director General, Knowledge and Innovation in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. He has worked extensively in both the private and public sectors. He started his career in PriceWaterhouseCoopers and most recently worked in Asia on secondment to AIA – one of the world’s largest life insurance companies. In the Civil Service he has worked in 10 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office and he was a Board member of DIUS – a predecessor Department to BIS.

  • Prof Dame Kay Davies

    Dr Lee’s Professor of Anatomy, Oxford University

    Professor Dame Kay Davies

    An expert in human genetics, Dame Kay became Director of the MRC Functional Genomics Unit in 1999. The unit aims to explore and exploit genome information for gene function analysis in the nervous system. She became a Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to science in 2008, and in the same year was appointed as a Governor of the Wellcome Trust. She was promoted to the position of Deputy Chairman of the Trust in 2013. 

  • Prof Dame Sally Davies

    Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health. Prize Advisory Panel Co-Chair

    Professor Dame Sally Davies - Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health

    Professor Dame Sally Davies was appointed Chief Medical Officer in 2010. She was a key figure in the development of the National Institute for Health Research, and is a member of the UK Health Innovation Council. Sally also chairs the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, and is a fellow of the Royal Society. In 2013, she was listed as the sixth most powerful woman in the UK by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. She is the author of the recent book on anti-microbial resistance, “The Drugs Don’t Work".

  • Dame Athene Donald

    Professor of the Experimental Physics and Master, Churchill College, Cambridge University

    Dame Athene Donald - Professor of the Experimental Physics, Cambridge University

    As a Chair of the Royal Society's Education Committee and a member of the Cambridge University Council, Athene is a hugely respected physicist and educator. Her work with polymers saw her elected a member of the Royal Society in 1999. Throughout her career, she has consistently championed and promoted the role of women in science, chairing the Athena Forum and acting as the University’s representative for gender equality. She was made a Dame in 2010, and the year after was appointed a Trustee of the National Museum of Science in Industry.

  • Andrew Dunnett

    Director of the Vodafone Foundation

    The Vodafone Foundation funds projects which use mobile communication technologies to address some of the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges and to enhance people's quality of life. Prior to becoming its Director, Andrew was an adviser to the Sustainable Development unit at the UK Department of Trade and Industry. He has extensive experience in corporate responsibility, community investment and public affairs, assisting organisations as diverse as the BBC, the Commission for Racial Equality and Thames Water.

  • Prof Jeremy Farrar OBE

    Director of the Wellcome Trust

    Jeremy Farrar is Director of the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in health by supporting the brightest minds.   Before joining the Trust he was Director of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam, where his research interests were in infectious diseases, tropical health and emerging infections.  He has contributed to 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and served on several World Health Organization advisory committees.

  • Dame Judith Hackitt DBE

    Chair of Health and Safety Executive

    Dame Judith Hackitt DBE

    Dame Judith was appointed as Chair of the Health and Safety Executive on 1 October 2007 for a term of 5 years and reappointed in October 2012. She was made a Dame in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to health, safety and engineering, in particular for being a role model for young women. She was awarded a CBE in 2006. Dame Judith is a chemical engineer worked in the chemicals manufacturing industry for 23 years. She is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and a Member of Council. She was President of IChemE from May 2013 to May 2014.

  • Dame Wendy Hall

    Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton

    Dame Wendy Hall - Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton

    Dame Wendy is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and Dean of the Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences. She was Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) from 2002 to 2007. In 2006, she became one of the founding directors of Web Science Research Initiative, alongside Tim Berners-Lee. She became a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the 2009 UK New Year Honours list, and was recently elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

  • Roger Highfield

    Director of External Affairs, Science Museum

    Roger Highfield - Director of External Affairs, Science Museum

    As a boy, Roger was inspired by the science of the Space Race in the 1960s, and went on to secure a doctorate in physical chemistry from Oxford University. He was the Science Editor of The Daily Telegraph for two decades and the Editor of New Scientist between 2008 and 2011. Today, he is the Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum Group. Roger has written seven books and had thousands of articles published in newspapers and magazines.

  • Imran Khan

    Head of Public Engagement, Wellcome Trust

    Imran Khan

    Imran leads the Wellcome Trust's work in public engagement with science. Previously he was Chief Executive of the British Science Association. He is also a Trustee of the charity Practical Action, which looks to alleviate poverty through the application of technology. Imran’s writing about science has appeared across a variety of leading publications, and he has also worked as a senior parliamentary researcher.

  • Katherine Mathieson

    Katherine Mathieson is Chief Executive at the British Science Association (BSA) which believes that science should be a more fundamental part of culture and society. Katherine previously led a portfolio of projects in science education and enterprise education for Nesta. She has previously held roles at a range of other science organisations, including the Forensic Science Service, Science Line and the pharmaceutical company Merck. Katherine has an MA in Natural Sciences, an MSc in Science Communication, a PGDip in Information Science and a PGDip in Voluntary Sector Management.

  • Geoff Mulgan CBE

    Chief Executive, Nesta

    Geoff Mulgan CBE

    Geoff is the Chief Executive of Nesta, and has been in post since June 2011. Under his leadership, Nesta has moved out of the public sector to become a charity, launching a range of new initiatives in investment, programmes and research. He is a published writer, with four books to his name. In 2004 he became the first Chief Executive of the Young Foundation after a diverse career including roles as the Chief Adviser to Gordon Brown MP, a lecturer in telecommunications, an investment executive and as a reporter on BBC TV and radio.

  • Prof Peter Piot

    Director, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Prize Advisory Panel Co-Chair

    Professor Piot is a distinguished expert in microbiology and epidemiology, and has played key roles in understanding some of the deadliest diseases affecting the world today. As well as co-discovering Ebola in 1976, he has made a huge contribution to bringing HIV/ AIDS to the forefront of global agendas; as well as time as President of the International AIDS Society he was the founding Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations.

  • Prof Alice Roberts

    Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham

    Professor Alice Roberts

    Alice Roberts is Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham, and a clinical anatomist, author and broadcaster. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Cheltenham Festival of Science, and a judge for the annual Wellcome Image Awards, celebrating art in science. Alice is the Patron of the Association of Science and Discovery Centres, of Twycross Zoo, and of the Natural Sciences Collections Association. She is an Honorary Fellow of the British Science Association, and of the Society of Biology.

  • David Rowan

    Editor, Wired Magazine

    David Rowan - Editor, Wired Magazine

    As the Editor of the UK’s most forward-thinking magazine, David Rowan is well-placed to judge the challenges the future might hold. He has written often for The Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian, as well as creating and successfully launching a number of magazines into a hyper-competitive print environment. He holds an MA in History from Cambridge University, and he recently moderated the G8 Innovation Summit in London.

  • Sir Mark Walport

    Chief Scientific Advisor

    Sir Mark Walport - Chief Scientific Advisor

    Sir Mark is the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government of the United Kingdom, providing knowledge and advice to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, as well as leading the Government Office for Science. In this role, he co-chairs the Council for Science and Technology. He is an expert in immunology, and holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He is the former Director of the Wellcome Trust, and remains involved in academia through his leadership of the Division of Medicine at Imperial College, London.