Professor named DfT's chief scientific adviser


A university professor famed for his research into electronic tolling and electric vehicles has been appointed as chief scientific adviser to the Department for Transport (DfT).

Newcastle University’s professor of intelligent transport systems, Phil Blythe, has this week begun his part-time role supporting secretary of state Patrick McLoughlin and his team.

Professor Blythe – who is also chair of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Transport Policy Panel - will provide advice on science, engineering and technology issues to the Government over the next three years.

‘The DfT has an exciting and challenging agenda for the delivery of new transport investment and I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to be part of this,’ he said.

Professor Blythe is widely recognised as having been a key player in helping Newcastle become the UK’s leading city on electric vehicle adoption. He has published research on supportive infrastructure and worked in partnership with regional firms and councils to boost take up.

He is currently working with colleagues in Newcastle University’s Medical Faculty to develop assistive technologies that will help older drivers continue to be safe.

‘I hope through my new role I will be able to advise on how we can bring the best of UK science, technology and engineering together to deliver these projects and achieve maximum benefit for the transport systems and economy in the UK,’ he said.

He also went on to name his favourite journey, stating ‘It’s actually the legendary 'Shields ferry' joining the north and south sides of the Tyne estuary. However a close second is the East Coast train service from Newcastle to London – which I guess I’ll be seeing a lot more of now.’

Pro-vice-chancellor engagement and internationalisation at Newcastle University, professor Richard Davies, said: ‘This appointment recognises Phil’s expertise in intelligent transport and infrastructure which are key to the future of transport in the UK.’

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