Sarah Harper

Sarah Harper

Expert on Population Ageing, Oxford Professor of Gerontology

why book sarah?

  • Sarah Harper is a leading authority on global population trends and their economic, political, and social impacts
  • As a former BBC News reporter and Royal Institution Director, she excels in communicating complex scientific ideas to diverse audiences
  • She has advised the UK, Malaysian, and Singaporean governments on demographic change and strategic policy development
Sarah Harper


Professor Sarah Harper is one of the world’s leading authorities on global population trends and their economic, political, environmental and social impact. She speaks with enormous experience as an advisor to European and Asian governments. Harper served on the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology,  advising David Cameron and Theresa May on the scientific evidence for strategic policies, was  an Advisor to the Malaysian and Singaporean Governments, and a Specialist Advisor for the European Commission on Demographic Change.

She is Professor of Gerontology at the University of Oxford,  undertaking  research into demographic and environmental change with a particular interest in Europe, Asia and Africa.  Harper was appointed Commander of the British Empire for her services to the science of demography in 2018.

Her 2019 book ‘How Population Change Will Transform Our World’ (OUP), in which she argues that changing population structures will present one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century, was described by Foreign Affairs as providing “a powerful reminder that debates over immigrations, social welfare, and inequality will intensify in the decades ahead.” Her latest book ‘Ageing Societies: Risk and Resilience’ (Taylor and Francis, 2022) argues that population change has become a risk which affects us all – employers, governments, and institutions. And her CUP forthcoming book looks as the interaction of People and Environmental Change.

Sarah trained with the BBC as a News and Current Affairs Reporter and Producer, working in both TV and Radio for BBC News and BBC Newsnight. With this training and as a former Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Harper is skilled in science communication.

Sarah Harper

As Chair of the UK Foresight Review on Ageing, the European Ageing Index Panel, the European Biscay Long Term Care Review, and Governor of the Pensions Policy Institute, Harper is uniquely placed to comment on current policy thinking. Harper’s expertise also extends to Africa and she serves as a Patron of CHASE Africa, which combines her two interests of population change and environmental issues. As a member of the Royal Society’s working groups on environmental change and on biodiversity, Harper worked on the interaction of people, climate and planet. She is also a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Harper is a frequent speaker at academic, corporate and public events, many internationally. She has spoken at World Economic Forums in China and Australia, presented various TED and TED linked talks, and has extensive experience of speaking at corporate conferences.  Her topics include impact of population change on work and the economy; society and health aspects; the baby-bust; and population and environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity.


The Impact of Population Change on

  • Work and the Economy
  • Society and Health Aspects

Population and Environmental issues: Climate change and Biodiversity

Global Demographic Trends:

  • The implications for politics, economics and society
  • The implications for your business

Sarah Harper



Sarah Harper Population Change Book Cover
Sarah Harper Aging Societies Book Cover