Dr Emma Hennessey

Dr Emma Hennessey



Job title

Head of CSA's Team, Strategic Evidence and Analysis




Vitae Research Staff Conference 2013: Inspired Futures
Sessions and workshops Inspiring Careers: Leadership, Entrepreneurship and New Directions



I worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of York and the University of Sussex before joining the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) in 1994.  My first job was as manager for a research programme on assessing the risks to the environment of Genetically Modified Organisms and since then I have managed many programmes including: livestock science, grass and clover breeding, horticultural crop sciences, plant genetic resources, water quality and water use.  For each of these programmes I was responsible for identifying and commissioning research to help answer specific policy questions.   During this time, MAFF became the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).  I now head Defra's Chief Scientific Adviser's Team, leading on evidence policy, support for our Science Advisory Council, managing the department's specialists and our policy on geography and earth observations.  I also support the Chief Scientific Adviser on a range of issues - last year I organised a scientific workshop on Chalara (Ash die-back) and provided the Secretariat for the subsequent Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Expert Taskforce, for example.  I am currently involved in a change programme which is looking to improve evidence activities across Defra and its network (including Environment Agency, Natural England and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, among others).