DAVID COPE (2010 – 2012)

David Cope is currently Visiting Professor at Institute for Technology, Enterprise and Competitiveness, Doshisha University. Formerly he was Director of the Office of Science and Technology, UK Parliament where he served for 14 years. He is a graduate of Cambridge University and the London School of Economics.  He is a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University’s international postgraduate college. His fascination with the environment developed at an early age and while an undergraduate at Cambridge he was an avid attender at lectures at the Scott Polar Research Institute and took part in expeditions to measure glacier ice flows in Iceland and Norway.
Originally specialising in population economics, his career began when he was appointed to an innovative ‘interdisciplinary’ lectureship at Nottingham University, teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate courses ranging from Engineering to Theology, in particular, the first university courses in ‘Futures Studies’ in the UK.

At Nottingham, he developed an interest in energy and environmental economics and, with colleagues, built up a research programme with projects that ranged from the problems of radioactive waste disposal to the energy consumption of alternative urban structures.  A scholarship from the US Embassy in London enabled him to develop his thinking on the provision of scientific and technological analysis to non-specialists, particularly legislatures, through a period of time with the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment in Washington DC.

In 1981, he joined the International Energy Agency, the energy ‘club’ of the industrialised countries, based in Paris, as environmental team leader, providing advice to member governments, private companies and voluntary sector organisations, especially on pollution control from fossil fuels and on nuclear power.

By 1986, a surfeit of international business missions encouraged him to return to the UK and to Cambridge as the Executive Director of the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development, a charitable research institute, where he remained for 11 years.  Here he worked on subjects as varied as the implications of the 1986 Chernobyl incident for the UK, the organisation of the largest ‘environmental audit’ ever conducted of a UK private enterprise, aspects of the UK’s ‘greenhouse gas’ reduction strategy and packaging and the environment.

This period of his career found David increasingly involved in research studies in the USA, Canada and East Asia, with fellowships at the University of Hong Kong and the East-West Center in Hawaii.  In particular, he participated in several projects that involved extensive research in Japan. The attractions of that country meant that, in 1997, he readily accepted an invitation to become Professor of Energy and Resource Economics at Doshisha University in Kyoto; Japan’s  second oldest private university.

Plans for an extended stay in Japan were however, revised when he was offered his current position as Director of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) at the Houses of Parliament.  This is a joint office of both Houses, created in 1989. In April 2001, it became the first new permanent institution of the UK Parliament for nearly 40 years.  POST’s role is to ensure that individual members and committees of both Houses are sufficiently well informed to enable them to

conduct effective scrutiny of government policy and to anticipate the full effects of prospective legislation and general developments in science and technology.

David is a trustee of the Canada-UK Colloquia, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the International Polar Foundation, UK.  He is an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Energy Institute and the Royal Geographical Society.

His main recreations are listening to Handel, Purcell and Wagner, hill walking, especially in the Peak District, travelling throughout East Asia, particularly the more remote parts of Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and astronomy.

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