A Swansea expert in digital policy has been appointed by the UK Government as the new Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to provide scientific leadership, oversee research priorities and advise ministers and officials.
Tom Crick MBE is Professor of Digital Policy at Swansea University, having recently stepped down from his role as Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor leading the strategic development of the University’s Civic Mission activities.
While his background is in computer science, Professor Crick’s academic interests span across the research-policy-practice interface and the wider impact on society, culture and the economy. This includes areas such as education and curriculum reform, science and innovation policy, artificial intelligence, data science, cyber resilience, digital transformation, and skills and infrastructure for the digital/data economy.
His Swansea role is primarily based in the Department of Education & Childhood Studies in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, as well as a wider role in the £32m Computational Foundry, reflecting the interdisciplinarity of his research and policy interests.
Professor Crick is a leading international figure in the digital skills field and has held senior board-level advisory roles with Nesta, Ofcom, Swansea Bay University Health Board, the National Infrastructure Commission for Wales, and BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. His work on leading the major science and technology curriculum reforms in Wales over the past 10 years was recently recognised by being awarded the 2023 Hugh Owen Medal by the Learned Society for Wales and the 2023 BCS Lovelace Medal.
The UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) supports culture, arts, media, sport, tourism and civil society across every part of England. The UK has a world-leading position in these sectors and they contribute significantly to the UK’s economy, way of life and reputation around the world.
In his role as Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA), Professor Crick will provide scientific and technical leadership within the department, provide direct advice to ministers and officials, and oversee the use of research, evidence and external expertise.
He will work closely with other departmental CSAs across Whitehall, led by the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, to ensure a cohesive, strategic approach is adopted to address key cross-cutting government policies.
While his new role primarily relates to England, it naturally aligns with priority themes across the arts, culture, heritage and sports in Wales, and reinforces Swansea University’s strengths in these areas. It also underpins the Welsh Government’s priorities for building a more prosperous, equal, and greener economy, as well as key strands from the Swansea Bay City Deal.
Commenting on his appointment, Professor Tom Crick said:
“I am delighted to be joining the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport as Chief Scientific Adviser.
I am particularly interested in supporting innovative place-based approaches, fostering creative communities, and creating diverse opportunities for young people, as well as better understanding the longer-term impact of artificial intelligence on culture, heritage and especially the creative industries.
This work at the research-policy-practice interface clearly coheres with Swansea University’s wider ambitions in this space, especially for identifying and addressing local challenges, levelling up and shared prosperity, as well as cultural placemaking linking to our new civic mission strategy.”
Sam Lister, Director General for Strategy and Operations at DCMS, said:
“I congratulate Tom on his appointment as our Chief Scientific Adviser following a very competitive process, and I am really excited to be working with him on the next phase of DCMS’s development as an organisation that brings real scientific rigour to all its work.
Our sectors are at the cutting edge of technological and creative innovation, and Tom will ensure we access the highest quality research, evidence and technical knowledge to allow us to make better decisions and create more effective, robust policies to drive growth and enrich lives.”