RIP David Bennett


Dr David Bennett (1937-2020)
We are saddened to report the death of Dr David Bennett, Visitor to the Senior Combination Room of St Edmund’s College and formerly Guest at the Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, after a recent illness.
David graduated at the University of Leicester in Botany with Chemistry, was a schoolmaster in Birmingham before returning to studies at the University of Birmingham (MSc, PhD biochemical genetics). After several research positions in the UK, USA and Australia including Stanford University, Canberra, Pfizer Inc., SmithKline Inc. he took a second MA in sociology in London specialising in science policy studies. Proud of his hybrid training he held various research management and science-policy-related positions back at Canberra, Australia and later at Nuffield College, Oxford before starting his own company, Cambridge Biomedical Consultants Ltd.
As Proposer and Manager of numerous European Commission projects in biotechnology and nanotechnology, David instigated a European Task Group on Public Perceptions of Biotechnology and on Education in Biotechnology, Bioethical Aspects of Biotechnology in the Agro-food Sector, Nanobiotechnology and Issues in Society and Ethics, and the formation of Nanomed, a Round Table for high-level EC policy makers. As Director of Cambridge Biomedical Consultants Ltd he was based in Delft, The Netherlands, and his non-profit company was designed as a legal entity to provide for European Commission projects and related conference organisation activities.
David was widely recognised and in great demand by the European Commission and various industry bodies for his long-term experience of the relations between science, industry, government, education, law, the public and media in the UK, USA, Australia and The Netherlands. He was engaged in the UK’s Biotechnology Industry Association, the European Biotechnology Industry Association (EuropaBio), the Genetic Alliance and the European Patient Organisation, and published authoritative briefing papers for policy makers, teachers, journalists, and the general public on key issues in biotechnology and nanobiotechnology.
David remained active in the last decade of his life. He was co-Project Leader (with Brian Heap) of Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA) and compiled and edited a series of books published by CUP on new genetic technologies for global food production, successful careers beyond the lab, and successful science communication – telling it like it is. He leaves four children and two more who he helped raise from his second marriage. Among many personal interests and activities were a daily dose of Bob Dylan, walking, jazz and classical music, and a Morgan sports car.