NERC Council - Membership

Duncan WinghamProfessor Duncan 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.

Professor 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.

Professor 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.

Matthew Harwood


A strategist focussed on leading global businesses through fundamental market change via the development and delivery of growth strategies, innovation, acquisitions and portfolio rationalisation. Deep experience across oil and gas, utilities, chemicals, clean technology and renewables sectors derived from executive and non-executive roles.

My passions

I love to support organisations through challenging times, building strong teams to design and execute plans to reduce risks and capture opportunities. I’m also passionate about supporting the development of new technologies to address climate change.


  • Present - Eden McCallum (Senior Advisor) and E4 Tech (Senior Advisor)
  • 2017-2019 - Johnson Matthey (Speciality Chemicals) –Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer
  • 2010-2017 - Petrofac (Oil and Gas Service/ EPC) -Group Head of Strategy
  • 2016-2017 - Seven Energy (Nigerian Gas Infrastructure) –Chairman of the Board
  • 2008-2009 - ScottishPowerEnergy Retailer - Director of Product Managementand New Business
  • 2004-2007 - ScottishPower(Utilities) -Group Strategy Director
  • 2001-2004 - Booz-Allen-Hamilton –Management Consultant
  • 1997-2001 - Royal Dutch Shell –New Business Development/ Reservoir Engineer
  • 1994-1997 - University of Colorado, Boulder, U.S.A. –Research Fellow in Atmospheric Change
  • 1991-1994 - University of Cambridge-PHD in Atmospheric Chemistry

Professor Louise Heathwaite

Louise is Distinguished Professor in the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University and was appointed Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) of the University in 2019. She 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 150 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. In 2018, she was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list for services to scientific research and scientific advice to government.

Between 2012-17 Louise was Scottish Government Chief Scientific Adviser on Rural Affairs, Food & Environment. As CSA, 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 £40m 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.

Rebecca Heaton

Dr Rebecca Heaton is responsible for Drax Group’s efforts to mitigate climate change, ensuring that sound science underpins climate change polices and business strategy. She is also responsible for developing sustainability and climate change research programmes. She has a 20 year global career working at the interface between business, science and policy.

After an early career in academia, she has held senior roles in a number of large energy companies. A Chartered Forester, her expertise spans energy, climate change and land-use and the role business has to play in enabling the UK to decarbonize. She is also a member of the UK Committee on Climate on Change.

Gideon Henderson

Gideon 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.

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.

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.

Clare Matterson

Clare Matterson is the Executive Director of Engagement for the Natural History Museum responsible for public programmes, commercial, communications and international activities.

She was Chief Executive of EAT, a global foundation for healthy and sustainable food systems. She worked for 18 years at the Wellcome Trust as Director of Strategy and Director of Culture and Society, where she led many initiatives, co-founding Wellcome Collection, establishing the UK’s National STEM Learning Centre and initiating ‘Our Planet Our Health’.

Clare has a Zoology degree from the University of Oxford, is a member of the US National Academy of Science’s LabX Advisory Board and a Trustee of the Horniman Museum. She was awarded the Queen’s honour, CBE for services to public engagement with science.

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.

Register of declared interests (PDF, 40KB)