Science Committee - Membership

Graham Underwood is a Professor in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Essex. Trained as a zoologist (University of Reading), and with a PhD in freshwater ecology (University of Sussex), he moved to Essex in 1992, after a period of post-doctoral work at the University of Bristol. His research covers freshwater, estuarine, coastal and shallow sea, and sea ice biology and ecology, with a major focus on microbial ecology, dissolved organic matter and biogeochemical cycling, and ecosystem functioning. Though based primarily in the UK., he has also carried out research in the Baltic, Mediterranean and South African environments, tropical systems in the Indo-pacific and the Bahamas, in Antarctic and Arctic sea ice, and high latitude lakes (Greenland).

Professor Underwood has extensive experience working with NERC since 2002; on the peer review college, a member of the Panel of Chairs from 2009 to 2014, a member of Science and Innovation Strategy Board (SISB) from 2011 to 2014, and Chair of the Strategic Programmes Advisory Group (SPAG) from 2014-2019. He is a member of the Research Councils' IMP Individual Merit Promotion Scheme panel. He was a member of the DEFRA science advisory panel on marine conservation zones (2009-2012), and on various Environment Agency statutory committees. Three of his recent projects were funded via NERC research programme funding (BESS, MC and SSB), which all have broad societal challenge elements, and he works with the Environment Agency on numerous policy-related research projects. He has recently completed a six year term as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Health at the University of Essex.

Adrian Baker is a Fellow of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). Following completion of a PhD in hydrogeology, and a post-doc investigating the properties of sea floor sediments, he worked for 10 years as a consultant, principally to the UK nuclear industry, investigating and remediating radioactively and chemically contaminated land. He joined Dstl in 2003, working to understand the environmental and health effects of the use of depleted uranium weapons. He became Chief Scientist in 2007, with responsibility for leading on scientific quality and technical capability. In 2015, Dr Baker became a fellow of Dstl, and changed scientific and technical direction to focus on the use of marine autonomous vehicles to measure oceanographic properties. He also currently leads on assessing the future direction of science and technology relating to remote, automated and autonomous vehicles in all environments.

Adrian was a member of the NERC Science and Innovation Advisory Board from 2011 to 2015, the Joint Capital Advisory Group from 2013 to 2015, and the Innovation Advisory Board from 2016 to 2018. He was also a member of the Science and Technology Facilities Council ethics committee from 2015 to 2018 and is currently a member of the Marine Facilities Advisory Board of the National Oceanography Centre.

Professor Lora Fleming is a board certified occupational and environmental health physician and epidemiologist with over 30 years of experience and expertise in environment and occupational exposures and human health. She is director of the European Centre of Environment & Human Health and chair of Oceans, Epidemiology & Human Health at the University of Exeter Medical School - external link.

With various international collaborators, Professor Fleming is involved in research and training in the new metadiscipline of Oceans & Human Health - external link. She is the recipient of the 2013 Edouard Delcroix Prize and the 2015 Bruun Medal of the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC), for her research and other activities in oceans and human health. Professor Fleming is a member of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Scientific Advisory Board to the NIEHS Gulf Oil Study, and the NERC Science Board as of September 2016.

Anna Jones is Science Leader of the British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) Atmosphere, Ice, and Climate Team, with expertise in atmospheric chemistry gained from over 30 years’ research experience. Her research interests are broad, and driven by the need to understand atmospheric composition in a changing world. Her polar (Antarctic and Arctic) research has focused around understanding atmospheric impacts of changing sea ice cover, furthering ability to interpret ice core records, and assessing natural sources of atmospheric aerosol. She initiated greenhouse gas research at BAS, which has led to projects measuring both natural and industrial emissions of methane. Her work is highly interdisciplinary, and she has published papers with ice core chemists, boundary layer and regional meteorologists, and chemical oceanographers.

Anna has worked within NERC for over 25 years, serving on diverse committees including Merit Promotion and the Doctoral Training Programme. She is a member of two international polar advisory boards (Germany and Denmark), has served on international grant panels, and is editor for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. She is an enthusiastic ambassador for environmental science, and engages frequently with non-specialists, including from industry and the general public, via talks and the media.

Christine Maggs is the first Chief Scientist of the UK’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). JNCC is part of the Defra group which provides conservation advice to governments based on analyses of scientific evidence. After studying botany at Oxford, a work placement on seaweeds in the Natural History Museum in London and a scientific diving expedition to Brazil, led to Christine’s first job as a diving botanist in Wales and then to a PhD at NUI Galway. Her main research interests are evolution and systematics of seaweeds, biological conservation and sustainable seaweed exploitation, and invasion biology in aquatic habitats.

Following a postdoctoral fellowship in Canada and a NERC Advanced Research Fellowship at Queen’s University Belfast, Christine joined QUB’s School of Biological Sciences as a marine biologist, becoming Professor of Phycology and then Head of School. She was appointed as a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2013 and received the Award of Excellence of the Phycological Society of America. She was Dean of Science & Technology at Bournemouth University, and is now a visiting Professor there and Honorary Professor at QUB. Christine has served on grant evaluation panels in the UK, Ireland, Finland, Portugal, Norway and Sweden. Christine also promotes public understanding of seaweeds, having co-authored a popular Seasearch guide, and teaches a course to the public and agency staff in spring each year.

At QUB Christine worked to promote gender equality, leading the School’s successful 2009 submission for a Silver Athena SWAN award, and was closely involved in achieving the Gold award, which was recently renewed.

Tamsin Mather is a professor of Earth sciences at the University of Oxford. Her main research interests centre on the science behind volcanoes and volcanic behaviour and are motivated to understanding volcanoes as planetary processes, natural hazards and as natural resources. Her research interests also lead her away from volcanoes at times and she has also published papers on the emissions from an oil depot fire (Buncefield, 2005) and the global mercury cycle, amongst others. Much of her work is multidisciplinary and her collaborations have included atmospheric scientists, marine biologists, geochemists, geophysicists, sedimentologists and many others. Her research often includes fieldwork and she has collaborated with scientists in many volcanically-active countries such as Chile, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Italy and the US.

She has gained experience within the NERC community in a number of ways. She has been a member of NERC Peer Review College twice, sitting on standard grant, fellowship and services review panels. She worked with the theme leader and other scientists to develop the Volatiles, Geodynamics & Solid Earth Controls on the Habitable Planet theme action and was deputy director of the NERC Centre for Observation & Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes & Tectonics from 2013 to 2019. She has been a user of numerous NERC facilities including the Isotope Geoscience Facilities, the Airborne Research & Survey Facility, the Radiocarbon Facility and Ion Micro-Probe Facility. She currently sits on the International Continental Drilling Program Science Advisory Group and was formerly an editor of Earth & Planetary Science Letters. She is committed to making her science accessible to a wide audience, regularly participating in diverse outreach activities.

She is also interested in the science and policy interface and during her PhD was one of the first NERC fellows in the Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology.

Alberto Naveira Garabato is a professor of physical oceanography in ocean & Earth science at the University of Southampton, and Director of NEXUSS - the NERC / Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre of Doctoral Training in the smart and autonomous observation of the environment.

Alberto is interested in the processes shaping the ocean circulation and its role in the global climate system and biogeochemical cycles. He leads a research group focusing on the development and application of novel observational technologies and analytical techniques to tackle significant problems in ocean dynamics. He has authored high-profile papers in a range of areas of ocean circulation, marine biogeochemical cycling, and the role of the polar oceans in climatic change.

Alberto has an established track record in leading large, complex, multi-institutional, international and interdisciplinary research projects to a successful conclusion, and is regularly the principal scientist of research expeditions to some of the most challenging oceanic environments on Earth. Alberto's research has been recognised with the European Geosciences Union (EGU) Outstanding Young Scientist Award of 2008, a Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2010, and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award in 2014.

Professor Pancost is professor of biogeochemistry in the Organic Geochemistry Unit (OGU) of the University of Bristol and director of the Cabot Institute, which engages interdisciplinary approaches to address the major environmental and sustainability challenges of the 21st century. He obtained his PhD at Penn State University in 1998, conducted a post-doc at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and has been at the University of Bristol since 2000; he was a co-founder of the Cabot Institute and its Director since 2013.

He conducts research on how organisms mediate our planet's chemical environment and uses their molecular signatures to reconstruct Earth's past climate. His approach is based on state of the art analytical chemistry, and the OGU houses a node of the NERC Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility. His group and collaborators strive to constrain uncertainty in the Earth system but also explore the unknown unknowns, including the deep uncertainty in how climate change will impact the social and natural ecosystems on which we depend. Arising from this, he served on Bristol City Council's Resilience Sounding Board and is helping to shape its 50 year 'One City' vision.

Andy Shepherd is professor of earth observation in the School of Earth & Environment at the University of Leeds, director of the NERC Centre for Polar Observation & Modelling, and principal scientific advisor to the European Space Agency (ESA) CryoSat-2 satellite mission. He is a physicist by training, and his field of expertise is satellite remote sensing of the cryosphere, with a particular emphasis on the quantitative techniques of radar interferometry and radar altimetry. He has also worked on studies of land degradation using satellite radiometry, and he has led ground campaigns in Europe, Africa, Greenland, and Antarctica to calibrate and validate satellite measurements.

Andy's work focuses on assessing the state of the cryosphere, including ice sheets, glaciers, and sea ice, and on developing novel techniques to improve observational capabilities. Since 2001, he has co-authored more than 50 papers and he has been an investigator on more than 30 research grants from a wide range of sponsors, including NERC and ESA. He was a contributing author of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and he established and co-leads the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise - a joint initiative of ESA and NASA to provide a community assessment of the sea level contribution due to Antarctica and Greenland. In 2008, Andy was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize for his research in the field of climate change, and in 2014 he was awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award for his work on assessing ice sheet imbalance.

David N. Thomas is the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Impact at Bangor University, where he also holds the Chair of Marine Biology in the School of Ocean Sciences.

He studied, and did his PhD, in Liverpool University where he investigated seaweed physiology, before spending seven years in Germany working on oceanographic projects in the Antarctic, Arctic and Red Sea. After returning to the UK he established groups working on sea ice ecology and biogeochemistry (Antarctic, Arctic and large tank experimental ice-systems), dissolved organic matter and nutrients in land-ocean interactions, and the production of biomass from algal bioreactors. He also investigated the use of saltmarsh plants to remove nutrients from land-based aquaculture wastewaters. From 2009 to 2013 he held an Academy of Finland distinguished professorship at the Finnish Environment Institute, where he was a visiting research professor until 2019. From 2013 to 2019 he was Director of the Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon Energy & the Environment.

He has been a member of the NERC Peer Review College (2005 - 2008) and chaired the Programme Advisory Group for the NERC Arctic Research Programme (2010-2016). He currently chairs the Programme Advisory Group for the NERC Changing Arctic Ocean: Implications for Marine Biology & Biogeochemistry Research Programme.

He takes pride in conveying his science to non-specialist audiences, both in talks and through writing textbooks and books for non-academic audiences. Over the years, he has become increasingly interested in the connections between observational biology and art and design.

David Viner is a specialist practitioner in the response of organisations to climate risk. He is currently the Global Head of Climate Science at Mott MacDonald where he oversees the technical leadership of their work across all its sectors and geographies that involve climate change. David holds a visiting Professorship at the University of East Anglia and is currently a Co-ordinating Lead Author for the IPCC Working Group 2 and was a lead author on the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land. David is in a unique position in which he spans the private, policy and academic communities across a range of international climate change activities.

David has a degree in physical geography from the University of Sheffield and a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Salford. Following his PhD he moved into the climate change arena by taking up a position at the Climatic Research Unit where he directed the Climate Change Masters Course. He subsequently took up a position at Natural England to develop and lead their climate change work and then moved to the British Council to develop and direct a unique climate change strategy to support the UK’s profile and international climate change negotiations. In 2012 David joined Mott MacDonald where he developed the business case to grow their work in climate change. David is a fellow of the Institute of Environmental Science and is an honorary lifetime member of Friends of the Countryside in recognition of his work for the rural economy.

Simon Vosper is the Executive Director of Meteorological Science at the Met Office, which he joined in 2001. He obtained a PhD at the University of Leeds in atmospheric science and then worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the universities of Leeds and Surrey, studying the effect of hills and mountains on atmospheric flow. His work has led to new predictive tools for operational forecasting of hazardous winds and turbulent rotors and to improvements in the models which underpin the UK’s weather and climate science capability.

Simon’s experience includes field measurement programmes, laboratory fluid dynamics, numerical model development and the pull-through of science to operational products and services. He leads a team of scientists and scientific software engineers who developed the Unified Model -a world-leading seamless modelling system for weather and climate science applications.

He has close links to NERC science through several collaborative programmes, including the Met Office-NERC Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme. He is a visiting Professor at the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds.

Doug Wilson is Director of Research, Analysis and Evaluation and Chief Scientist at the Environment Agency. He leads on scientific research, innovation for environmental monitoring, evaluating interventions and assessing the state of the environment. During major incidents he leads on providing scientific advice to Government.

Doug has a degree in human ecology and a PhD in river pollution incident modelling, with research interests in pollution dispersion, environmental water needs and the application of the precautionary principle in environmental management. He is an Honorary Professor at Nottingham Trent University.

Before joining the Environment Agency in 1999 he worked in the water industry for Southern Water and Thames Water, planning and managing water resources. He is Chair of the UK Environmental Observation Framework (UKEOF), which draws together public sector monitoring activities across the UK. Doug is chair of the Energy and Environment Programme Expert Group for the National Physical Laboratory. He also chairs UK Technical Advisory Group (UKTAG), which provides technical advice on implementation of the Water Framework Directive.

Register of declared interests (PDF, 99KB)