NERC Council - Membership

Duncan WinghamDuncan received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Leeds in 1979 and a PhD from the University of Bath in 1984, both in physics. He joined University College London (UCL) in 1986, where he held lecturing posts at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory and the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering. He was appointed as a Chair in the Department of Space & Climate Physics in 1996, and was Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at UCL from 2005 to 2010.

Duncan was founder and Director of the NERC Centre for Polar Observation & Modelling (CPOM) from 2000 to 2005, which, among other things, discovered the widespread mass loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and its origin in accelerated ocean melting. He was Chairman of the Science & Innovation Board of NERC and, since 2000, the lead investigator of the ESA CryoSat and CryoSat-2 satellite missions.

Duncan became Chief Executive of NERC on 1 January 2012, and then Executive Chair on 1 April 2018, when NERC became part of UK Research & Innovation.

Nick FollandNick is a former Chief Executive of the Crown Prosecution Service. Whilst in this role, he was simultaneously responsible for a £300 million cross-government IT change programme, delivering fundamental reform of the criminal justice system.

Prior to that, Nick was Chief of Staff to the Chief Executive Officer and Chief External Affairs Officer of the Co-op, playing a pivotal role in saving the Co-op Bank and rescuing the group from its existential crisis in 2013 and then reforming the organisation's governance.

Nick joined the Co-op from Kingfisher plc, a FTSE 100 international retailer, where he was a member of the retail board and held a number of executive positions over the period 2007-13. He led the development of the international sustainability strategy 'Net Positive' and was also responsible for the group's Government Affairs & Regulatory programme.

Nick has extensive governance experience, having been Group Legal Director, General Counsel and Company Secretary for FTSE 100 businesses for over a decade, originally qualifying as a solicitor at Linklaters & Paines in 1993.

Professor Louise HeathwaiteLouise is a hydrochemist and recognised internationally as an authority on understanding the sources and hydrological pathways of diffuse agricultural pollution from land to water, and for work developing the critical source areas (CSAs) concept, which forms the cornerstone of many models of diffuse pollution risk worldwide. She is an active scientist with over 160 Institute for Scientific Information-listed publications, and continuous funding from the research councils, government and government agencies. Louise was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2015, and President of the Freshwater Biological Association in 2017.

Louise joined Lancaster University in 2004 as founder and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Water Management. In 2018, she was appointed to a newly created position as Cross-Faculty Associate Dean for Research in the university. Louise has significant experience of both research council and government environments.

Between 2012-17 she was Scottish Government Chief Scientific Adviser on Rural Affairs, Food & Environment. There, she was responsible for ensuring the integration and effective use of evidence in policy ranging from climate change to food security, and from land use and biodiversity to animal health. She undertook part-time secondment to NERC from 2008-12, where she was successful in securing over £40 million of new strategic research investments aligned to the sustainable use of natural resources theme. She has also served on Defra's Science Advisory Council (2011-17) and held an ex-officio position on NERC Council from 2012-17. She was appointed CBE in 2018 for services to scientific research and scientific advice to government.

Stephen HolgateStephen is Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology at the University of Southampton, with a research interest in the mechanisms of asthma and allergy. He has over 1,000 peer-reviewed publications and an h-index of 157. He has been President of the British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology, the British Thoracic Society and is currently President of the British Association for Lung Research and the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum.

He has been Chair of the MRC Population & Systems Medicine Board, the MRC Translational Research Group, a member of the MRC and NERC Strategy Boards, and chaired the Main Panel A (Medical & Life Sciences) of Research Excellence Framework 2014. Stephen chaired the UK Government Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, the Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards, the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee and was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution.

His contributions have been recognised by a number of awards, including The King Faisal and the J Allyn Taylor International Prizes in Medicine, and honorary degrees from the universities of Ferrara, Krakow, Naples and Exeter. He was a founder member of the Academy of Medical Sciences, served on its council and is Founder Chair of the Clinical & Veterinary Section of the Academia Europaea and council member.

Imran KhanImran is Head of Public Engagement at the Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation that exists to improve health for everyone by helping great ideas to thrive. He has also served as Chief Executive of the British Science Association and Director of the Campaign for Science & Engineering. A biologist by training, he believes that society will benefit from stronger engagement between environmental scientists and the public.

Imran worked in Westminster as a political researcher and as a science writer. He is trustee of the innovation foundation Nesta and the technology-focused international development charity Practical Action. He has studied at the University of Oxford, Imperial College London and Cass Business School.

Karin LochteProfessor Karin Lochte studied biology, chemistry and philosophy in Germany and the UK, and earned her PhD from the University of Wales in 1985. Her research addressed biological turnover of carbon and nitrogen in the ocean and its impact on climate processes. She held professorships for biological oceanography at the universities in Kiel, Rostock and Bremen. She received an honorary doctor's degree from the University Oldenburg and Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Karin led the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar & Marine Research (Germany) as Director from 2007 to 2017. As such, she was responsible for one the largest polar research institutions and for large infrastructure and logistics including icebreaker RV Polarstern, aircraft and several polar stations in the Arctic and Antarctica.

She currently serves as Vice-President of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, as board member of the International Arctic Science Committee, was Chair of the European Climate Research Alliance and is involved in numerous further research and advisory committees.

Gordon McGregorGordon is founder and Director of a technology start up Spot Sensor Technologies Ltd, a company that designs and manufactures low power Internet of Things (IoT) connected sensor devices for air quality, water management, soil condition and infrastructure management. He also acts as a management consultant in the energy and environmental sphere.

He also has more than two decades of experience working in the energy and utility sector, including serving as Environment & Innovation Director in a major UK plc where he led the company's efforts on environmental management, regulation and research & development for the group.

Gordon has a BEng in electronic engineering from the University of Glasgow, an MBA from Heriot Watt University and an LLM in environmental law from the University of Aberdeen. He is passionate about the environment and is also currently serving as Chair of the WWF Advisory Board in Scotland and sits on the Country Committee for the RSPB in Scotland.

Julia SlingoDame Julia Slingo served as Chief Scientist of the UK Met Office from 2009 to 2016, when she retired. At the Met Office she led a team of more than 500 scientists working on a broad portfolio of research that underpins weather forecasting, climate predictions and climate change projections. Through her career, she has worked at the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Reading University. In her retirement, she has taken on a number of advisory roles, including Special Advisor on Science to the Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organisation.

Dame Julia has brought innovative approaches to understanding and modelling weather and climate. She has developed and used complex weather and climate models to deliver new insights into how the atmosphere and climate system works, as well as significant advances in predictive skill and climate services. Her special interests are tropical weather and climate variability.

Amongst other awards, Dame Julia was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015 and Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2016.

Lord WillisLord Willis was educated at the City of Leeds & Carnegie College and Birmingham University. He spent 20 years as head teacher of two large urban comprehensives before entering Parliament in 1997, becoming Shadow Secretary of State for Education & Skills prior to being elected Chair of the Science & Technology Select Committee in 2005.

Awarded a peerage in 2010, Phil sat on the Science & Technology Committee until 2015 and dedicates much of his time to research in areas including science & innovation and health policy. He was a co-author of the recently published report into the future viability of the NHS and social care. He chaired the Association of Medical Research Charities until 2015 and was awarded an honorary doctorate of science from Salford University in 2013 for his work on evidence-based policymaking. Following his seminal report on graduate nurse education in 2012, he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing and has recently been awarded an honorary doctorate of science from City University London.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Policy Board of the Royal Society and the Foundation for Science & Technology. He chaired the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Wellcome Trust Health Innovation Challenge Fund Review and was appointed Chair of the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research & Care for Yorkshire and Humber in 2014.

He recently led the Health Education England 'Shape of Caring Review' into the education and training of nursing and health care staff where his proposal to introduce the Nursing Assistant post has resulted in 2,000 students being trained this year. He was a member of the Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC), sponsoring board set up to nursing standards and is currently leading a groundbreaking proposal to set up the first ever Doctoral Training Centre for Nursing and is leading Health Education England's development of training and education for mental health professionals and support staff.

Lord Willis continues his involvement with education as visiting lecturer at several universities, including York, London City and Nottingham, and is acting as a consultant to Health Education England and to NMC.

Chief Scientific Advisor representative

Gideon HendersonGideon is a geochemist working to understand the ocean, the carbon cycle, and the long-term operation of the climate system. His research falls into two main areas - making novel measurements on natural archives to quantify climate processes important for future change (such as sea level, rainfall patterns, permafrost stability); and the chemistry of the modern ocean, including study of the carbon cycle, nutrient metals, contaminants, and tracers used to assess ocean processes.

Gideon helped initiate the international programme which has revolutionised knowledge of the chemical cycling of metals in the ocean, and was co-chair of this programme for its first decade. He is a professor at the Department of Earth Sciences (of which he was Head for 2013-17) at the University of Oxford. He also holds a senior research fellowship at University College Oxford, and an associate position at Columbia University, USA.

Gideon was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2013, now serves on the Royal Society Science Policy Committee, and has contributed to recent policy work in subjects including ocean resources and greenhouse gas removal.

Register of declared interests (PDF, 37KB)