Peter Gluckman

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Peter Gluckman

Gluckman in 2016
Born (1949-02-08) 8 February 1949 (age 75)
Auckland, New Zealand
Alma materUniversity of Otago
University of Auckland
Known forFormer Director of Liggins Institute and Gravida
Inaugural Chief Science Advisor to the New Zealand Prime Minister
Chair, International Network for Government Science Advice
Spouse(s)Judith, Lady Gluckman
Scientific career
FieldsPaediatrics and perinatal biology
Evolutionary medicine
Science policy and diplomacy
InstitutionsUniversity of Auckland

Sir Peter David Gluckman ONZ KNZM FRS FMedSci FRSNZ (born 8 February 1949) is a New Zealand scientist. Originally trained as a paediatrician, he served as the inaugural Chief Science Advisor to the New Zealand Prime Minister[1][2] from 2009 to 2018. He is a founding member and was inaugural chair of the International Network for Government Science Advice, and is president of the International Science Council.

Scientific career[edit]

Born in Auckland, Gluckman attended Auckland Grammar School before studying paediatrics and endocrinology at the University of Otago, gaining an MBChB in 1971 and an MMedSc in 1976 from the University of Auckland. After further training at the University of California, San Francisco, he returned to New Zealand in 1980 to establish a group in perinatal physiology as a career fellow of the Medical Research Council of New Zealand.

In 1988, Gluckman was appointed Professor of Paediatric and Perinatal Biology and was head of the Department of Paediatrics. He obtained a DSc in 1989 from the University of Auckland. He then served as dean of the university's Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences whilst also heading the Research Centre for Developmental Medicine and Biology.

In 2001, Gluckman became the founding director of the Liggins Institute, and, a year later, director of the National Research Centre for Growth and Development (later called 'Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development'), hosted by the University of Auckland. He stepped down from both positions in mid-2009 to assume his role as the first Chief Science Advisor to the New Zealand Prime Minister.[3]

In 2007 Gluckman was appointed programme director for Growth, Development and Metabolism at the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, where he is currently chief scientific officer. He also holds honorary chairs at National University of Singapore and the University of Southampton. In 2014, he was appointed co-chair of the World Health Organization Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO).[4]

Gluckman has made research contributions to the fields of perinatal physiology and biology, developmental neuroscience and neuroprotection, paediatric and experimental endocrinology, as well as at the interface between ecological, developmental and evolutionary biology as applied to human health. He is the only New Zealander elected to the Institute of Medicine of the United States National Academies of Science, and is a Fellow of Academy of Medical Sciences of Great Britain.[citation needed]

Contributions to science advice and diplomacy[edit]

In June 2009 Gluckman was appointed as the first Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. This appointment was extended twice to end in June 2018. During this time, Gluckman made national and international contributions to science advice, science policy, and science diplomacy. He established departmental science advisory roles in major departments, and this group has been increasingly used by Government as a formal process of advice on matters relating to evidence and policy. He was given the additional appointment of Special Science Envoy for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2010 to assist his role in science diplomacy.

Gluckman has explored extensively the principles of science advice through a blog, lectures, and in the scientific press.[5][6] In 2012 he established and chaired the first formalised regional network of chief science advisors and equivalents of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. He also established the Small Advanced Economies Initiative (SAEI) as a mechanism to bring together policy makers from small, advanced countries where science and innovation are core tools of development, to work collaboratively on shared issues and ideas. In 2013 he was requested by the International Council for Science (ICSU; now the International Science Council) to consider the development of an international network of science advisors. This led Gluckman to host and chair the inaugural Science Advice to Governments Conference, convened by the International Council for Science, in August 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. It was the first global meeting of high-level science advisors, academies, and academics.[7]

In June 2018, Gluckman stepped down from his role as the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor, and was replaced by Juliet Gerrard.[8] On 5 July he was elected to the position of president-elect of the International Science Council at its inaugural meeting in Paris.[9]

In March 2020, Gluckman became the director of the newly established Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures, a University of Auckland Faculty of Arts research centre.[10]

In November 2022, Gluckman criticised the National Party leader Christopher Luxon's proposed Young Offender Military Academies, citing the failure of the previous Fifth National Government's boot camp programme for young offenders.[11] As Chief Science Adviser, Gluckman had published a report in 2018 where he concluded that boot camps and other "scared straight" programmes did not work and instead increased crimes.[12] Instead of boot camps, Gluckman advocated addressing juvenile delinquency and abuse through early intervention programmes, targeted mental health services, and complimentary services focusing on the Māori and Pasifika communities.[11]

Honours and awards[edit]

Gluckman is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, an honour bestowed on just 42 New Zealand-born scientists since the Society's establishment in 1660.[13] In 2001, Gluckman received New Zealand's top science award, the Rutherford Medal.[14]

In 2004 Gluckman was named as The New Zealand Herald New Zealander of the Year, also winning the KEA/NZTE World Class New Zealander Award in 2006.[15]

In the 1997 Queen's Birthday Honours, Gluckman was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to medicine.[16] He was promoted to Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to medicine, in the 2008 New Year Honours.[17] In 2009, following the restoration of titular honours by the New Zealand government, he accepted redesignation as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.[18]

In the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours, Gluckman was appointed a Member of the Order of New Zealand, the country's highest civilian honour, restricted to 20 living New Zealanders.[19][20]

Gluckman received the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Award for Science Diplomacy, in 2016. In 2019 he was named New Zealand Communicator of the Year by BlacklandPR.[21]


  • Gluckman, Peter; Hanson, Mark (2019), Ingenious: The Unintended Consequences of Human Innovation, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0-674-97688-7
  • Gluckman, Peter; Beedle, Alan; Buklijas, Tatjana; Low, Felicia; Hanson, Mark (2016), Principles of Evolutionary Medicine (Second ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780199663934
  • Gluckman, Peter; Hanson, Mark (2012), Fat, Fate & Disease: Why exercise and diet are not enough, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-964462-9


  1. ^ "Office of the Prime Minister's Science Advisory Committee, New Zealand". Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  2. ^ "PM appoints Chief Science Advisor". 20 May 2009. Archived from the original on 25 May 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  3. ^ "National Centre for Growth and Development, New Zealand". Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  4. ^ "WHO | Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity". Archived from the original on 23 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  5. ^ Gluckman, Peter (13 March 2014). "Policy: The art of science advice to government". Nature News. 507 (7491): 163–165. doi:10.1038/507163a. PMID 24627919.
  6. ^ "Peter D. Gluckman". Science & Diplomacy. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  7. ^ Sato, Yasushi; Koi, Hirokazu; Arimoto, Tateo (22 September 2014). "Building the Foundations for Scientific Advice in the International Context". Science & Diplomacy. 3 (3).
  8. ^ "University of Auckland professor announced as new Chief Science Advisor – The University of Auckland". Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Royal Society Te Apārangi – Sir Peter Gluckman named President-elect of International Science Council". Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Sir Peter Gluckman leads think tank focused on critical global issues". University of Auckland. 4 March 2020. Archived from the original on 3 March 2022. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  11. ^ a b Harman, Richard (17 November 2022). "National ignores its own advice". Politik. Archived from the original on 17 November 2022. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  12. ^ Peter Gluckman (12 June 2018). It's never too early, never too late: A discussion paper on preventing youth offending in New Zealand (PDF) (Report). Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Adviser. p. 29. Retrieved 31 December 2022. Boot camps have been shown not to work,218 219 and "scared straight" programmes (where visits by young people to adult prisons are supposed to have a deterrent effect) have been shown to increase crime.220 This is in line with evidence that threats of harsh punishments and long prison sentences have little "deterrent" effect on young people.221
  13. ^ Clark, Robin JH; Kelly, Michael J. (2012). "Special Issue: The Transit of Venus". Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 42 (2): 121–130. doi:10.1080/03036758.2012.673496.
  14. ^ "Ernest Rutherford – Scientist Supreme". Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  15. ^ Collins, by Simon Collins (18 December 2004). "Herald New Zealander of the Year: Dr Peter Gluckman – National – NZ Herald News". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
  16. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 1997". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 2 June 1997. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  17. ^ "New Year honours list 2008". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  18. ^ "Special honours list 1 August 2009". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 5 April 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours: A nation honours the great and the good". The New Zealand Herald. 1 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2015". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 1 June 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  21. ^ "Sir Peter Gluckman named NZ Communicator of the Year". Retrieved 8 March 2019.

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