He was educated at New Mills Grammar School in the Peak District, Derbyshire, and the University of Nottingham (where he earned his BSc and PhD). He also has an MA and a ScD from the University of Cambridge and Honorary DScs from Nottingham (1994), York (2001) and St Andrews (2007).
- 1960 University Demonstrator, University of Cambridge
- 1963 Lalor Research Fellow, ARC Institute of Physiology, Babraham Institute, Cambridge
- 1964-95 Staff Member, AFRC Institute of Physiology, Babraham, serving as Head, Dept of Physiology, 1976; Head of Cambridge Research Station, 1986; Director Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research, Cambridge and Edinburgh, 1989–93; Director of Science, BBSRC, Swindon 1991–94 and Director BBSRC Babraham Institute, 1993–94.
- 1994-2001 Visiting Senior Fellow, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge
Heap's primary research interest was in reproductive biology and the function of hormones in reproduction. His research into the control of pregnancy, birth and lactation led to important contributions in endocrine physiology and farm animal breeding. He has published on endocrine physiology, biotechnology, sustainable consumption and production, and science advice for policy makers.
He was the Master of St Edmund's College, University of Cambridge from 1996 until 2004 and has been a Special Professor in Animal Physiology at the University of Nottingham since 1988 until 2016. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1989, and held the post of Royal Society Vice President and Foreign Secretary from 1996 to 2001. He was Executive Editor of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B from 2004-2007. He is a founder member of the International Society for Science and Religion and an Associate of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.
Brian Heap was President of the Institute of Biology (now Royal Society of Biology) 1996-1998, UK Representative on the European Science Foundation Strasbourg, 1994–97, a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics 1996-2001, UK Representative on the NATO Science Committee 1998-2005, member of the Scientific Advisory Panel for Emergency Responses (SAPER) at the Cabinet Office, Chairman of the Cambridge Genetics Knowledge Park and Public Health Genetics, 2002-2010, and President of the European Academies Science Advisory Council, 2010-2014. In 1994 he was awarded CBE, and in 2001 knighted for services to international science.
In late 2012 he launched with David Bennett and Bernie Jones a 3-year Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA) committed to bridging the gap between science and the public by promoting better understanding and dialogue on developments in agriculture and biosciences throughout Africa <The Soul Beat Africa Network November 12 2012>. The aim was to encourage dialogue and to promote a better understanding of the available options for improving agricultural productivity in 4 African countries: Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Uganda. Media reportage of science and agriculture-related issues such as modern genetics and plant breeding (addressing food production challenges, for instance) was enhanced as observed at www.B4FA.org with its weekly newletter.
In 2014 the Smart Villages Entrepreneurship Project based in Cambridge and Oxford was launched by Brian Heap, Bernie Jones and John Holmes. Its aim was to identify the framework conditions necessary for the provision of energy services to the ‘bottom billion’ who live in off-grid villages and to enable livelihood opportunities through empowerment and the provision of services (healthcare, education, clean water and sanitation). The concept is to provide sustainable energy to rural communities and enable connectivity made possible by modern information and communication technologies. This can have a catalytic impact on the lives of villagers when appropriately integrated with other rural development initiatives and provide many of the benefits of 21st Century life to rural communities, consistent with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) <The InterAcademy Partnership 4 December 2018>. Now, the Smart Villages team has published the report, ‘Smart Villages Initiative: Findings 2014-2017’, which summarises individual accounts from more than 40 workshops and capacity building events across six regions (East and West Africa, South and Southeast Asia, South America, and Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico), as well as Europe and North America. The project has involved frontline workers (entrepreneurs, NGOs, development organisations, villagers and civil society organisations), policy makers and regulators, the finance community, and international experts in science, engineering and the humanities. Regional workshops have been complemented by competitions, webinars, impact studies, technical reports, reviews of the literature, books of essays, and case studies <www.e4sv.org><file:///C:/Users/Brian%20Heap/Documents/Smart%20Villages%20John%20Holmes%20April%202016-/The-Smart-Villages-Initiative-Findings-2014-2017_web.pdf> <Van Gevelt et al. Achieving universal energy access and rural development through smart villages. Energy for Sustainable Development 43: 139–142 2018>
- Who's Who 2009
- "Brian Heap". The Royal Society. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- "Professor Sir Brian Heap". Cambridge Public Policy. University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- ISSR Founder Members Archived 2005-03-07 at the Wayback Machine
- St Edmund's College - new buildings Archived February 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
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