John has worked as an academic at the University of Oxford, University of British Columbia, University of Wales. He served as Chief Executive of the UK Natural Environment Research Council, and as first Chairman of the UK Food Standards Agency. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences, the German National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His academic field is behavioural ecology. He is a cross bench Peer and between 2010 and 2014 he chaired the Science and Technology Select Committee in the Lords. He currently serves on the Energy and Environment Select Committee.
Knighthood for services to science; Life Peerage as independent cross-bencher