New Chief Scientific Advisor appointed

Date published: 02 November 2015

Health Minister Simon Hamilton has welcomed the appointment of Professor Ian Young as Chief Scientific Advisor to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.


Welcoming the appointment, Minister Hamilton said: "I am delighted to announce Professor Ian Young is the Chief Scientific Advisor to this Department. Ian has had, and continues to have a long and distinguished career.

"This was recognised in a very tangible way earlier this year when, as part of the Northern Ireland Healthcare Awards, he received a special recognition award for his achievements and contribution to clinical practice. His scientific knowledge and expertise will be of immense value to me and others in this Department in formulating and developing policy to enhance the health and wellbeing of patients, clients and the population more generally.

"He will be an excellent ambassador for research in Northern Ireland’s health and social care sector. Our reputation for leading edge research continues to grow internationally, and will be enhanced further following the establishment of a Northern Ireland Genomic Medicines Centre, which I announced last week. Ian’s role will be pivotal in ensuring our continued success."

Professor Young will provide leadership across the Health and Social Care (HSC) sector enabling the provision of high quality evidence to improve care for patients, clients and the general population, adding to our knowledge and understanding of health, disease, diagnoses, treatment and care.

One of Professor Young’s early priorities will be working with the Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency and the wider HSC in the delivery and implementation of this Departments Research and Development Strategy, 'Research for Better Health and Social Care'.

This strategy defines the Department’s research priorities for the next 10 years replacing the previous 2007 strategy.

The Strategy and accompanying Implementation Plan will soon be with the Minister for his consideration of approval for publication.

As Chief Scientific advisor, Professor Young will have an central role in ensuring that Northern Ireland maximises the opportunity for patients, the HSC and Academia following the announcement of Northern Ireland's selection as a Precision Medicine Catapult Centre of Excellence.

Notes to editors: 

The Post of The Chief Scientific Officer Advisor has two distinct but complementary roles:Chief Scientific Advisor (DHSSPS)

1. Chief Scientific Advisor (DHSSPS)

Within DHSSPS this covers three areas of responsibility namely :

  • Health and Social Care (HSC), which includes policy and legislation for hospitals, family practitioner services and community health and personal social services
  • Public Health, which covers policy, legislation and administrative action to promote and protect the health and well-being of the population
  • Public Safety, which covers policy and legislation for fire and rescue services

In the discharge of these responsibilities, scientific advice and knowledge / knowhow from research are vital.

The Chief Scientific Advisor is required to work closely with other Chief Professionals in the Department on topics of mutual interest.

2. Director, HSC R&D

Leadership of the HSC Research and Development (R&D) function enables the provision of high quality evidence to improve care for patients, clients and the general population, and adds to our understanding of health, disease, diagnosis, treatment and care. This work is directed by a strategy that is developed through wide consultation.

Professor Ian Young

Ian Young is currently Professor of Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, where he was also Director of the Centre for Public Health from 2008-2014.

In addition, he is Deputy Medical Director and Consultant Chemical Pathologist at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. Professor Young’s main clinical and research interests are in biochemical aspects of nutrition, particularly in relation to the prevention of heart disease.

He is an author of over 350 published research papers and has obtained over £30 million in research income.

He is Chair of the Scientific Division of the International Federation for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, the world’s leading laboratory medicine organization, and Associate Editor of Clinical Chemistry, the journal of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

He is a member of the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Institute of Biological Standards and Controls. Professor Young frequently speaks at national and international meetings on lipid management and topics related to laboratory medicine.

3. Media enquiries about this press release to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0575, or out of office hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.

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