Department of Earth Sciences
Blue Skies Research

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Blue Skies Research

After graduating in physics from the University of Liverpool in 1957, I spent some sixteen-years in nuclear structure and high-energy physics research. That was followed by senior positions at the Cabinet Office in Whitehall, the Science Research Council in London, and the Bank of England. A short CV is below.

1960-1: Demonstrator in Physics, University of Liverpool

1961-3: Research Associate, and Assistant Professor of Physics. University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta. Canada.

1963-73: Research physicist (Principal Scientific Officer), Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory, Daresbury Cheshire, UK. Group Leader, Anglo-Italian collaboration in particle physics research, 1967-73

1970-3: Lecturer in Physics, University of Liverpool. Visiting Lecturer in Physics, University of York.

1973-6: Cabinet Office Secretariat, Whitehall, London. Chairman, Economic subcommittee on Technical Change. 1975-76: Secretary, Ministerial Committee on Science and Technology.

1976-7: Science Research Council, London (Senior Principal Scientific Officer). Responsible for founding the Marine Technology Directorate, and for the Teaching Company.

1977-80: Adviser, Printing Technology, Bank of England.

1980-90: Conceived the Venture Research concept. Headed the Venture Research Unit, operating in Europe, USA & Canada. The British Petroleum Company plc.

1985-: Save British Science (later, 2005, Campaign for Science and Engineering): executive committee member.

1990: BP helped me to set up Venture Research International Ltd., the legal entity for holding research investments. The Venture Research concept is further refined.

1993-: Visiting Professor: University College London.

1995-: Visiting Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University College London

1996: Wellcome Trust: Sir Henry Wellcome Commemorative Awards Committee.

2005: First Trust Bank Chair of Innovation, Queen's University, Belfast.

2005-2007: US National Science Board: Task Force on Transformative Research.

2008-: Honorary Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University College London.


Born 29 May 1935, Liverpool, England. BSc (Honours) in Physics, University of Liverpool, 1957. PhD (Nuclear Physics), University of Liverpool, 1961. Fellow, Institute Of Physics, 1974. Honorary Fellowship, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, 1989.

Author of Scientific Freedom: The Elixir of Civilization, Wiley 2008. Pioneering Research: A Risk Worth Taking, Wiley, 2004; and To Be a Scientist, Oxford University Press, 1994, and Papirus Editora, Brazil (in Portuguese) 1996; scheduled to be published by Kodansha in Japan (in Japanese). Author of many papers on nuclear and elementary-particle physics, and on science policy. Many appearances on national radio and television. The main participant in a one-hour Channel 4 television programme - Blue Skies - dedicated to the Venture Research initiative, and broadcast (1990) in the Equinox series.

Don Braben
13-14 Mount End
Theydon Mount
Epping, Essex, CM16 7PS
Tel +44 1992 577 909

E mail Don Braben -

This page last modified 4 January, 2011


Research Fellowship Award

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