Vernon Gibson

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Prof Vernon Gibson

Professor Vernon Gibson was chief scientific adviser at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) from 2012 until June 2016. In this role, he was responsible for ownership of the MOD's science and technology programme, advising ministers and senior officials on science and engineering matters, and working with the wider community of chief scientific advisers on cross-departmental matters. [1]


Gibson received his Bachelors degree in Chemistry from the University of Sheffield, followed by a doctorate from the University of Oxford. Following two years as a NATO post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology he returned to the UK to a lectureship at Durham University and was promoted directly to a full Professorship there in 1992.

In 1995 he moved to Imperial College London where he held the Sir Edward Frankland Chair of Inorganic Chemistry. He has received numerous national and international awards and was elected to the Royal Society in 2004.

Before joining MOD, Gibson held the post of Chief Chemist at BP. In this role, he provided leadership to BP’s large technology community and advice to the company on science and technology matters. His remit spanned oil and gas exploration and production, downstream refining and petrochemicals, and the company’s alternative energy businesses. An important part of his role was to maintain connections with world class research through major academic and industrial partners across the globe. [1]

ACOBA appointments

In July 2016, Gibson sought advice from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) on taking up two separate appointments. The first was as a paid member of the Technology Advisory Council at BP PLC. The committee found that over his time in service he had not been responsible for awarding or advising on any contracts between the firm and the MOD. ACOBA also took note that the role would see him returning to the company he worked for before taking up the MOD post. The second was as an unpaid non-residential Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The committee found that the position would not require Gibson to advise on matters relating to defence or to have any dealings with government. ACOBA approved both appointments in the same month, on condition he would not personally lobby government on behalf of his employers and he not draw on any privileged government information in those roles; he took up the appointments in October 2016.

In September 2016, Gibson sought further advice on taking up a paid, part-time position at the University of Sheffield. The committee found he had no dealings with the University during his time in service, and his appointment was approved in the same condition as his previous ones. He took up the role in October 2016. [2]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Professor Vernon Gibson,, accessed 19 October 2016.
  2. Summary of business appointments applications - Professor Vernon Gibson,, 12 October 2016, accessed 19 October 2016.