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Centre of Development Studies



Sir Brian Heap is a Distinguished Fellow of the Centre of Development Studies and Honorary Fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, where he was a former Master. Previously, he was Director of the Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research (Babraham and Roslin), and Director of Research at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. He was Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham, President of the European Academies Science Advisory Council, President of the Institute of Biology, President of the International Society of Science and Religion, and is Chief Scientific Advisor to the Malaysian Commonwealth Study Centre and the Cambridge Malaysian Education and Development Trust, and a Trustee of the Cambridge China Development Trust. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1989, he held posts as Foreign Secretary and Vice-President from 1996 to 2001, and was Executive Editor of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B.


Sir Brian has doctorates from the Universities of Nottingham and Cambridge, has published on endocrine physiology, biotechnology, sustainable development, and science advice for policy makers. With the UK’s Parliamentary Select Committee on Putting Science and Engineering at the Heart of Government Policy, Department of Health’s Expert Group on Cloning, Department of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Nuffield Council on Bioethics, EU President’s Advisory Group on Biotechnology, and the UK-China Forum he has also been engaged in issues of population growth, environment, conservation and development. He was scientific consultant for several international pharmaceutical companies.


The Smart Villages Initiative aims to provide policy makers, donors and development agencies concerned with rural energy access with new insights on the real barriers to energy access in villages in developing countries – technological, financial and political – and how they can be overcome. We focus on remote off-grid villages where in excess of 1 billion people have no access to electricity and where local solutions (home- or institution-based systems, and mini-grids) are both more realistic and cheaper than national grid extension. Our concern is to ensure that energy access results in development and the creation of ‘smart villages’ in which many of the benefits of life in modern societies are available to rural communities (


Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA) is an independent not-for-profit initiative with no commercial interests, works to provide balanced, scientifically-based information on best practice, innovation and entrepreneurship to enable African farmers to unlock the continent’s agricultural potential. B4FA aims to engage with policy makers, decision takers, scientists, journalists, educators, extension workers and students to spread accurate, balanced information on the best sustainable solutions to improve food security and productivity in Africa, particularly for smallholder farmers and farming organisations (

Distinguished Fellow

Staff Photo

Sir Brian  Heap