British MI5 Seeks a Real 'Q'


James Bond always went to Q to keep one step ahead of the enemy with the latest smart gadgets, and now the real-life British spies of MI5 are to get their own technology mastermind.

Britain's domestic intelligence agency, commonly called MI5, is seeking a chief scientific adviser "to lead and co-ordinate the scientific work of the Security Service so that the service continues to be supported by excellent science and technology advice", its website said.

Applicants must have "world-class scientific expertise and credibility in relevant scientific and technology disciplines", their advertisement read.

"I think it's unlikely that the person will be required to develop a weapons system for the latest Aston Martin," Professor John Beddington, the British government's chief scientific adviser, told the BBC.

However, the successful candidate will help protect Britain against threats to national security by keeping on top of the latest moves in science and technology.

"It will involve a sort of future-gazing to see where technology will be taking us in a year or so," Beddington said.

"There is a really important role in providing scientific and technological advice on addressing problems agents in the field will face."

MI5's chief science adviser would help "to frustrate terrorism, to prevent espionage hurting the UK, protect our critical national infrastructure and to frustrate the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

"There's an enormous amount of scientific content in this role."

Q's hi-tech knowhow saw fictional overseas spy Bond out of several scrapes thanks to his wealth of new-fangled gadgets.

They included a wrist-mounted dart gun, a leg plaster cast that fires missiles and numerous wacky modifications to Agent 007's Aston Martin cars.

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