Mark Cantley has since January 1999 rejoined the European Commission, as Adviser in the Directorate for Life Sciences in the Directorate-General for Research of the European Commission. From 1993 to December 1998, he headed the Biotechnology Unit within the Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry of OECD, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; and was Secretary of its Internal Coordination Group for Biotechnology. This work addressed policy issues in agriculture and food, health care and pharmaceuticals, and environmental services; on aspects such as safety regulations, intellectual property rights, and the financing of international research infrastructure.

He was previously (1984-92) head of the "CUBE" (Concertation Unit for Biotechnology in Europe) in the European Commission, responsible inter alia for initiatives in public information, consumer dialogue, Eurobarometer opinion surveys, bioinformatics infrastructure, collaboration with developing countries on exploitation of genetic resources, and secretariat of the Biotechnology Regulation Inter-service Committee, 1985-1990.

His previous career covered a number of industries, starting in iron and steel, and usually from the skeptical perspective of a training in operational research. His degrees are in Mathematics (B.A. Cambridge); Economics (M.Sc. London); Operational Research (Dip., London); and Accounting and Finance (C.Dip.A.F.). Married, with six children, he lives in Brussels and Lancaster.