Professor Harries, originally from Aberavon, is the Professor of Earth Observation at the Blackett Laboratory of Imperial College London and a member the Grantham Institute for Climate Research at the College.
He is a past President of the Royal Meteorological Society, and of the International Radiation Commission.
He was the first Director of the Space Science Department at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, and has been a senior adviser to the UK Government in several roles. He is also the Principal Investigator of a climate monitoring instrument, which is currently operating on the European Meteosat satellite series in geostationary orbit. Professor Harries will take up his role on May 1.
The Chief Scientific Adviser’s role will be to provide scientific advice to the First Minister and the Welsh Assembly Government, to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics and the role of science within the wider knowledge economy. This appointment follows a review into the creation of a Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales, which was carried out by Professor Christopher Pollock in 2008.
First Minister Carwyn Jones said:
"The appointment of Professor Harries as our first Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales will ensure that we build on an impressive track record of achievement, and develop a more effective promotion of science and technology within the wider knowledge economy arena.
"This will prove invaluable as we continue to encourage the knowledge, skills and enterprise to strengthen businesses in Wales ahead of the global economic upturn."
Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, Lesley Griffiths, welcomed the news and said the appointment of Professor Harries as Wales’ first Chief Scientific Adviser will provide the Assembly Government with world class scientific leadership and advice.
"It acknowledges the importance the Assembly Government places on the role of science and technology and will add significant impetus to our drive to increase funding for scientific research in Wales.
"The appointment is also timely and supports our drive to build a stronger and more sustainable and resilient economy for the future. A key focus is encouraging world class research and development, creating effective links and collaboration between businesses and our universities and colleges to commercialise innovative new products and processes."
Professor Harries said:
"It is a huge honour to be asked to become the first Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales and I look forward with great enthusiasm to carrying out this new role on behalf of the government and people of Wales.
"Wales is a small country, but is capable of the intelligent application of new science and engineering as a basis for greater commercial success in industry. The role includes acting as Head of Profession, providing a focus for good practice and the enhancement and encouragement of scientists and engineers in Wales. This is a job that encompasses two (along with my family and rugby) of my great passions – Science and Wales. I will give it my very best effort."
2 February 2010