David Cope

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David Cope (born 7 July 1946) was director of the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology from April 1998 until March 2012.

Prior to taking up the post in Parliament Cope was director of the UK centre for economic and environmental development and visiting professor at the University of Kyoto.[1]

He is currently visiting Professor at Institute for Technology, Enterprise and Competitiveness, Doshisha University in Japan.

Activities and views


Cope took part in a debate about climate in Beeston, near Nottingham on 22 June 2007 following a screening of Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth. According to the account of Conservative MEP and 'token skeptic' Roger Helmer:

Also on the panel was Professor David Cope, who works as a parliamentary adviser on scientific issues. I was delighted and surprised that he was scrupulously fair and impartial. I had feared he would be a fully-paid-up member of the alarmist tendency.
He said one thing that I found particularly interesting. He feared in the current panic over climate change, we might rush in to policy responses that with hindsight would be less than ideal, but might prove difficult to change.
He felt we could all benefit from a five-year pause to review the science, and also evaluated possible policy responses to see which offered the best value for money. That seems to me a good idea.[2]


In June 2005, Cope spoke at a Nuclear Industry Association and Scientific Alliance debate called "The Challenge for Nuclear: The Policy, the Science and the Need for Public Engagement."[3]

According to the NIA: "Over sixty delegates from Parliament, Government departments, industry and academia congregated to listen to the 'French Experience' of the nuclear energy industry. In addition Professor Philip Thomas of City University gave a presentation on risk in the industry. Key players, including Gordon MacKerron, Chair of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), and Jamie Reed, the new MP for Sellafield's constituency of Copeland, were present. The French Parliament Channel filmed the proceedings and interviewed Professor David Cope, who heads the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, and Lord Jenkin of Roding who offered their very positive impressions on the evening's revelations. So much has changed since the Battle of Trafalgar. We no longer see France as an adversary, but as an example to follow". [4]

Thorium lobby group launch

Cope was involved in the launch of the Weinberg Foundation a pro nuclear lobby group while still working in Parliament. Its launch statement included a quotation from Cope::

I was uniquely privileged to spend several periods at Alvin’s Weinberg’s Institute for Energy Analysis at Oak Ridge in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was enormously stimulating – one the greatest influences on my life. His 1972 article on ‘Science and Trans-science’ immediately became a seminal contribution to science policy and remains relevant to this day. Similarly, his hugely perceptive thinking on the role of nuclear electricity was decades ahead of its time.[5]

Letter to UK Government over slow 'strike price' negotiations with EDF Energy

In April 2013 Cope was one of a number of signatories to an open letter to the editor of the Sunday Telegraph arguing that 'Nuclear energy brings significant public health and environmental benefits'. It argued that 'building a fleet of new nuclear power stations rather than one reactor at a time will lead to considerable economies of scale and lower costs for consumers. It will also provide the reliable, secure, low-carbon energy urgently needed in this country. However, we are becoming increasingly concerned at the apparent slow progress of negotiations between the Government and EDF Energy for Hinkley Point C, and we fear this aspiration could be undermined if a deal on the pioneer project is not resolved satisfactorily.'[6] Cope was listed as 'University of Cambridge' and his name appeared alongside prominent scientific advocates of nuclear power including David King the former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government, Sue Ion Independent Consultant, Dr Malcolm Grimston, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, ICEPT Imperial College, Professor Simon Biggs FREng Professor of Particle Science & Engineering University of Leeds, Professor Jon Billowes, Professor of Nuclear Physics The University of Manchester, Professor Colin Boxall The Lloyd's Register Foundation Chair in Nuclear Engineering and Decommissioning Lancaster University.




LinkedIn: David Cope


  1. Lynne Williams 'Appointments; Noticeboard' The Times Higher Education Supplement April 17, 1998: Issue 1328, Pg.31
  2. Roger Helmer 'My fair hearing' Nottingham Evening Post, June 29, 2007 Friday: Pg. 14
  3. Scientific Alliance website
  4. NIA NIAUK website
  5. Weinberg Foundation News release - London: Weinberg Foundation to heat up campaign for safe, green, nuclear energy, House of Lords, London, 8th September 2011
  6. Sir David King et al The Government should not delay on its nuclear power plans; Negotiations over Hinkley Point C are going too slowly telegraph.co.uk April 21, 2013 Sunday 6:59 AM GMT
  7. LinkedIn David Cope, accessed 14 August 2013.