Reappointment of the NERC chief executive

14 December 2015

Universities & Science Minister Jo Johnson today announced the reappointment of Professor Duncan Wingham as chief executive of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Jo Johnson said:

I am very pleased to reappoint Professor Wingham for a further term as chief executive of NERC. His breadth of experience and expertise in environmental science will continue to be important as he leads NERC to support world-class science and increase knowledge and understanding of the natural world.

Professor Duncan WinghamSir Anthony Cleaver, chair of NERC, said:

Duncan has been an outstanding chief executive of NERC and I am delighted that his term of office has been extended. His focus on demonstrating the impact of research and his vision and clarity of thinking have helped maintain Britain's leading position in environmental research.

Professor Wingham said:

There has never been a more exciting time in UK environmental research, with initiatives such as those in the Southern Ocean and Arctic pushing the frontier of our knowledge further, promising long-term gains in our well-being and security. It will be a privilege to serve NERC and our community again as we work with the public, investigators, funders, industry and government to discover new approaches to the grand challenges faced by our society.

The appointment is from 1 January 2016 until 31 December 2017.

NERC is the UK's main agency for funding research in atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic sciences. In the 2015 Spending Review, the government protected science funding of £4·7bn in real terms over the Parliament. The government is also funding a £1·5bn new Global Challenges Fund.

Further information

Tamera Jones
NERC media office
01793 411561
07917 557215


1. NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. It coordinates some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is a non-departmental public body, which receives funding from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS). Working internationally, NERC has bases in the most hostile parts of the planet. They run a fleet of research ships and aircraft and invest in satellite technology to monitor gradual environmental change on a global scale. NERC provide knowledge, forewarning and solutions to the key global environmental challenges facing society.

2. Professor Wingham received a BSc 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. He 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 first appointed as NERC chief executive in 2011.