Short CV/Education and training

Career Overview

  • I have an interdisciplinary background covering both natural and social sciences and have worked on agrochemical, pharmaceutical and life science industry sectors, specifically innovation strategies, governance and regulation, and stakeholder attitudes and influences. Relevant life science areas include stratified medicine, synthetic biology, genetic databases, GM crops, biofuels, pharmaceuticals, stem cell therapies and translational medicine.

Education and Qualifications

    BSc (first class hons) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Glasgow University (T. and H. Smith Prize for Pharmaceutical Chemistry).

    PhD, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, Factors Affecting the Production and Usage of Pesticides in the UK.


  • 2005
    CBE for services to social science

  • 2005
    Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis

  • 2006
    Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

  • 2009
    Honorary Doctorate, Open University


  • 1979 – 1991
    Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, Systems Department, Technology Faculty, Open University

  • 1991 – 1992
    Professor of Business Administration: Environmental and Technology Management, Strathclyde Graduate Business School, University of Strathclyde

  • 1992 – 1996
    Deputy Director, Research and Advisory Services, Scottish Natural Heritage (Civil Service Grade 6)

  • 1998 – 2002
    The University of Edinburgh, Visiting Professor and Director, Scottish Universities Policy Research and Advice (SUPRA) Network

  • 2002 – 2007
    The University of Edinburgh, Professor and Director, Innogen Centre

  • 2007
    The University of Edinburgh, Professor and Co-Director, Innogen Centre and (since 2012) Innogen Institute

Relevant External Appointments

  • since 2012
    Member, Technology Strategy Board, Stratified Medicine Public Dialogue Oversight Group

  • since 2012
    Member, Technology Strategy Board Synthetic Biology Leadership Council

  • since 2012
    Member, Department of Health Emerging Science and Bioethics Advisory Committee (ESBAC)

  • 2009 – 2010
    Member UK Food Standards Agency Committee for the GM Public Dialogue

  • 2009 – 2010
    Chair, Nuffield Council on Bioethics Working Party on Biofuels – ethical issues

  • since 2008
    Board Member, Roslin Foundation Board

  • 2006 – 2008
    Member of the Governing Council of the Roslin Institute

  • 2004 – 2009
    Member, Scottish Science Advisory Council

  • 2004 – 2012
    Member, Scientific and Technical Council of the International Risk Governance Council, Geneva

Selected publications

  • Lyall, C., Bruce, A., Tait, J. and Meagher L. (2011) Interdisciplinary Research Journeys: Practical strategies for capturing creativity. London: Bloomsbury Press.

  • Lyall, C. and Tait, J. (eds.) (2005) New Modes of Governance: Developing an Integrated Policy Approach to Science, Technology, Risk and the Environment. Aldershot, Hampshire: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

  • Devos, Y., Sanvido, O., Tait, J. and Raybould, A. (2013) Towards a more open debate about values in decision making on agricultural biotechnology. Transgenic Research. Published online, 7 Sept., 2013.

  • Bruce, A., Castle, D., Gibbs, C., Tait, J. and Whitelaw, C.B.A. (2013) Novel GM animal technologies and their governance. Transgenic Research, Published online, 19 June, 2013, pp 1-15;

  • Mastroeni, M., Tait, J. and Rosiello, A. (2013) Regional Innovation Policies in a Globally Connected Environment. Science and Public Policy (2013) pp. 1-9

  • Mittra, J. and Tait, J. (2012) Analysing Stratified Medicine Business Models and Value Systems: Innovation-Regulation Interactions. New Biotechnology, 29(6), 709-719.

  • Tait, J. (2011) The ethics of biofuels. GCB Bioenergy, 3, 271-275

  • Tait, J. (2011) Shaping an ethical future for biofuels. Bioscience, 61(9), 653-4.

  • Buyx, A.M. and Tait, J. (2011) Biofuels: ethics and policy making. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 5(4) 350-351.

  • Buyx, A.M. and Tait, J. (2011) Ethical framework for biofuels. Science, 29th April 2011, 540-541.

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • Implantable Microsystems for Personalised Anti-Cancer Therapy (IMPACT), funded by EPSRC, £4.2M, (2013-2018)

  • Engaging with Uncertainty and Risk in Agricultural Biotechnology Regulation: Delivering Safety and Innovation, jointly funded by ESRC and Syngenta, £40,000,(2012-13), (with D. Castle, J. Mittra and M. Mastroeni)

  • Partners in DEFRA-funded project, Integrated Advice Pilot Project, along with ADAS, AHDB and RAND Europe; Edinburgh University Innogen Centre component, £108.5K, (2011-12), (with D. Castle and A. Bruce)

  • Facilitating Innovation in Scotland. Funded by Scottish Science Advisory Council, £9,300, (2011), (with D. Castle, A. Rosiello and C. Lyall)

  • With RAND Europe: The development of a methodology and application of knowledge exchange and translational research in agriculture and food to a specific product supply chain. (£11,875), awarded by RCUK/BBSRC, (2010-11)

  • Technology Strategy Board and Economic and Social Research Council. A Therapy Realization Pathway Tool (TRPT) applied to three representative regenerative medicine therapeutic products (REALISE), £154,000, (2010-11)

  • Innogen Centre Core Grant, (ESRC), £5.2 million (with Robin Williams and David Wield), (Oct. 2007-June 2013)

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Member, Technology Strategy Board (TSB) Responsible Innovation Framework Assessment Panel, Advancing the Industrial Application of Synthetic Biology; (2013)

  • Member, TSB Stratified Medicine Public Engagement Oversight Group; (since 2012)

  • Member, Technology Strategy Board Synthetic Biology Leadership Council;(since 2012)

  • Member, Department of Health Emerging Science and Bioethics Advisory Committee; (since 2012)

  • Adviser to Technology Strategy Board in development of its synthetic biology Responsible Innovation Framework (RIF); and member of the Evaluation Panel for grant applications implementing the RIF; (2012 – 13)

  • Member, Discipline Hopping: Engineering and Physical Sciences and Social Sciences prioritisation panel, EPSRC. Nov. and Dec.; (2010)

  • Member, Advisory Board, BEST Stem Cells Project (Biochemically Equivalent Substitutive Technology), EU FP7 Project, Theme Health; (2009 – 2012)

  • Member, UK Food Standards Agency Steering Group on UK GM Dialogue; (2010)

  • Chair, Nuffield Council on Bioethics Working Party on 'Biofuels – Ethical Issues'; (2009 – 2011)

  • Member ALLEA (All European Academies) Working Group on 'Evaluating for Science'; (2009 – 2011)

  • Mentor, US NSF and UK EPSRC Synthetic Biology Sandpit; (2009)

  • Trustee, Scotland Foundation, Royal Society of Edinburgh; (2008 – 2010)

  • Board Member, Roslin Foundation Board; (since 2008)

Media coverage

  • Numerous


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