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Sir Roy Anderson
Born 12 April 1947 (1947-04-12) (age 62)[1]
Residence London
Nationality British
Fields epidemiology
Institutions University of Oxford
Imperial College London
Ministry of Defence
Alma mater Imperial College London
Notable awards Croonian Lecture

Sir Roy Malcolm Anderson FRS (born 12 April 1947) is a leading British expert on epidemiology. He has mathematically modelled the spread of diseases such as new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and AIDS. He also currently chairs the science advisory board of WHO's Neglected Tropical Diseases programme, is a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges advisory board, and chairs the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative advisory board (SCI) funded by the Gates Foundation. He is a non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKline.


Education and early life

Anderson was born the son of James Anderson and Betty Watson-Weatherborn.[2] He attended Duncombe School, Bengeo and Richard Hale School. He gained a BSc degree in zoology at Imperial College and a PhD degree in parasitology in 1971 with thesis titled A quantitative ecological study of the helminth parasites of the bream Abramis brama (L).[3] Most of Anderson's early career was at Imperial College, becoming Professor of Parasite Ecology in 1982. He was head of the Department of Biology from 1984 to 1993.[2] At Imperial College, he served as Director of the Wellcome Centre for Parasite Infections from 1989 to 1993.


In 1993 Anderson moved to the University of Oxford where he was head of the Zoology department and held Linacre Chair of Zoology until 2000. During this time he served as Director of the Wellcome Centre for the Epidemiology of Infectious Disease.

He left the University of Oxford after a unanimous vote of no confidence in him by the Department of Zoology.[4] This also prompted his resignation in May 2000, from the Wellcome Trust where he had been a Trustee (then a Governor) for nearly ten years.[5]

He is the author of over 450 scientific articles and has sat on numerous government and international agency committees advising on public health and disease control including the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS. From 1991–2000, he was a Governor of the Wellcome Trust.


Foot and mouth

Roy Anderson was one of the most prominent scientists who advised the UK Government on the handling of the Foot and Mouth control policy in 2001, a policy that culminated in the destruction of around six million UK cattle.

Chief Scientific Adviser

He was Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Ministry of Defence from October 2004 to September 2007. After that, he returned to his Chair in Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at Imperial College London.[6]

Rector of Imperial College

Anderson succeeded Richard Sykes as the 14th Rector of Imperial College on 1 July 2008. In this role he expressed a desire to raise tuition fees[7] and privatise top UK universitites within 10–20 years.[8][9][10] He tendered his resignation in November 2009 stating “I have decided to step down as rector as I want to return to my primary concern, which is my deep and abiding research interest into global health.”[11]

2009 Swine Flu Outbreak

Anderson was interviewed on the BBC's Today programme about the 2009 swine flu outbreak on 1 May 2009 and said "the pandemic has started."[12] Anderson is a temporary member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, a group set up to give scientific advice to the British government over health issues relating to swine flu. He faced calls to resign over a conflict of interest as an adviser to the government and as a member of GlaxoSmithKline's board, though a spokesperson from Imperial College noted Anderson was 'not a member of the drug or vaccine sub committees of the flu advisory group.'[13]


Anderson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1986, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society in 2004. He was knighted in the 2006 Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Personal life

In 1975, he married Mary Joan Mitchell, who he later divorced in 1989. In 1990, he married Claire Baron. He enjoys hill walking, croquet, natural history and photography.[2]

Selected publications


  1. ^ Curriculum Vitae. Imperial College London. Retrieved 2009-03-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d Sleeman, Elizabeth (2003). The International Who's Who 2004. Routledge. ISBN 1857432177. 
  3. ^ Anderson, Roy M. (1974). "Population Dynamics of the Cestode Caryophyllaeus laticeps (Pallas, 1781) in the Bream (Abramis brama L.)". Journal of Animal Ecology (British Ecological Society) 43 (2): 305–321. doi:10.2307/3367. 
  4. ^ Not the Foot and mouth report, Private Eye.
  5. ^ Wellcome Trust Annual Review 2000, Wellcome Trust.
  6. ^ Prof. Anderson's Biography at Imperial College, as of 2 July 2008.
  7. ^ Patterson, Kirsty; Shubber, Kadhim (2009-03-12). "Rector Endorses Tuition Fee Rise". Imperial College Live!. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  8. ^ Patterson, Kirsty (2009-06-01). "Rector on Privatisation of Higher Education". Imperial College Live!. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  9. ^ Paton, Graeme (2009-06-01). "Top universities 'should sever ties with Government'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  10. ^ Turner, David (2009-06-01). "Imperial seeks Ivy League status over fees". Financial Times. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  11. ^ Turner, David (2009-11-16). "Imperial College head to resign". Financial Times. Retrieved 2009-11-16. 
  12. ^ "Swine flu pandemic 'has started'". Today programme. 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  13. ^ Derbyshire, David (2009-07-27). "Government virus expert paid £116k by swine flu vaccine manufacturers". Daily Mail. 

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Richard Sykes
Rector of Imperial College London
Succeeded by
Keith O'Nions
(acting rector)


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