Jim Campbell

main content

Jim Campbell (1973/74 Physics) - Head, Energy Development Unit at the Department of Trade and Industry

I came to Strathclyde after having worked for a couple of years and I really appreciated the opportunity and time to be able to think and reflect on the topics under discussion. The ambience was always friendly and comfortableand it was a unique experience being part of the group who were interested in understanding and learning.

Physics I thought, and it has been subsequently confirmed, gives one the ability to understand most things and the analytical process is helpful in many ways. Though I no longer work in physics, I do believe that my background has proved helpful through the years in dealing with all sorts of issues.

After university, I started off by doing research at a Government laboratory into the applications of non-linear optics to measurement. I then moved to a headquarters unit as a research assessor funding companies developing technologies for use in exploiting North Sea oil and gas. This was followed by various posts and promotions covering areas such as the export of UK capability in collaboration with Japanese companies, setting up policy frameworks aimed at helping industry and industrial relationships with various foreign countries.

I am currently responsible for domestic energy infrastructure in the UK within the Energy Group of DTI. I am responsible for the environmental regulation of offshore activities, I oversee the development of a policy framework for the increased use of renewable energy sources in the UK, and I am responsible for permitting energy generation projects (power stations, transmission systems etc) in England and Wales.

The most satisfying part of my job is having the ability to influence UK policy in key economic areas at the most senior levels. The ability to put in place enduring legislative and policy frameworks, which have resulted in the UK being extremely effective in ensuring that its oil and gas activity is handled in the most environmentally safe way possible has also been rewarding. Currently, putting in place various policy frameworks to enable full-scale deployment of renewable energy sources is very interesting.

My career has taken me to most parts of the world. I have known and worked with very senior politicians and been privileged to visit unusual and different locations such as meetings in the Kremlin, hosting dinners with senior industrialists in Tokyo, and visiting offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The highlight though occurred several years ago when I spent a couple of days with the Commander of the Apollo 15 discussing his plans for future R & D related to space activity and was able to discuss with him what it was like to have stood on the moon .

Away from work, I enjoy reading, running, and hill climbing.