Five NERC colleagues included in Queen's Birthday Honours

13 June 2016

NERC is pleased to announce that five colleagues have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2016 for their services to environmental science, Earth science and deep-sea ecology.

Among those recognised are Professor Alan Thorpe, a leading atmospheric scientist and NERC's former chief executive, awarded an OBE; geoscientist Professor John Ludden, director of the British Geological Survey (CBE); Professor Nicholas Veck, head of the CEO Office at the Satellite Applications Catapult (MBE); Dr Martin Smith, science director at British Geological Survey Global Sciences (MBE), and Dr John Gordon, a leading deep-sea ecologist at the Scottish Association of Marine Science (OBE).

We would like to congratulate:

Professor Alan Thorpe OBEProfessor Alan Thorpe OBE, for services to environmental science and research.

Now retired, Alan was director general of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). He oversaw the organisation's restructuring and the implementation of its 2011-2020 strategy.

Before that, he was NERC's chief executive from 2005 to 2011. From 2008 to 2011, as elected chairman of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Executive Group, he played a leading role in making the successful case for research in the Government Spending Review. Under his leadership, he guided the research councils to major advances in working together to support research excellence with economic and social impact, public engagement and improved efficiency.

He is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and a founding co-chair of both the Belmont Forum (2009-2011) and the World Meteorological Organisation's THORPEX research programme. He advised the US National Science Foundation on environmental research and education (2010-2012). He has been vice-president of the Royal Meteorological Society and was awarded its L F Richardson Prize (1979) and Buchan Prize (1992) for his research. He was the founding director of the NERC's Centre for Atmospheric Science (2001-2005), director of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research (1999-2001) and head of the department of meteorology at the University of Reading (1996- 1999).

Professor John Ludden CBEProfessor John Ludden CBE, for services to geoscience.

John is the current executive director of the British Geological Survey (BGS). He led the process of integrating British Earth science with European and global programmes: for example, the programme for deep sampling of the ocean floor (IODP), which defined past climates and tectonic cycles of the Earth. He is a leader of a pan-European solid Earth geophysical infrastructure which provides resilience for geo-hazards and geo-energy, including the lead role for the UK in geoenergy. His leadership has resulted in a step change in the scientific visibility of BGS by doubling research outputs, building a research community with HEI and raising around £100 million in capital.

As a leading scientist, he has authored around 150 papers. He is a member of Academia Europaea, a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a fellow (past council member) of the Geological Society of London, and past president of the European Geosciences Union, International Association of Geochemistry and EuroGeoSurveys. He is also honorary president of the Societe Geologique de France and sits on the European Academy EASAC Energy Committee.

Professor Nicholas Veck MBEProfessor Nicholas Veck MBE, for services to environmental science.

Nick has been head of the CEO Office at the Satellite Applications Catapult since 2013, where he has created links between science base, government and the commercial communities.

Early in his career, he was seconded to the British National Space Centre (BNSC). He chaired the UK Space Foresight Group and initiated the Space Foresight Programme. As chairman of the UK Industrial Space Committee (UKISC) in 2004, he made the association considerably more pro-active and re-branded it as UKSpace, publishing the organisation's first policy papers. He continued to be a key member of the UKSpace governing board until he left the industry in 2013.

Dr Martin Smith MBEDr Martin Smith MBE, for services to geological science.

Martin is science director for British Geological Survey (BGS) Global Sciences. Prior to this, he was Head of Geology and Landscape for BGS and Chief Geologist for Scotland, and served as survey geologist in Wales and Scotland.

As Chief Geologist for Scotland he made an outstanding contribution to restructuring BGS and was instrumental in refocusing the organisation on strategic responses such as redefining its global role in urban geology. This is now being translated into work for the Singapore government.

His 30-year career in BGS provides an exemplary model of a survey geologist. He has worked in many territories, understands basement (hard rock) geology and its structure, and has applied this understanding to a wide range of problems. He led the translation of the traditional hard-rock experience in understanding the demise of the Scottish ice sheets and in so doing, revised scientific thinking on the process of glaciation of the UK. During his time as BGS regional geologist in Kenya (1988-1992), he worked as a geological advisor and trainer to the Egyptian Geological Survey and Mining Department and the Kenyan Department of Mines. Here, he made important contributions to capacity-building and the reputation of British geology in Africa.

Dr John Gordon OBEDr John Gordon OBE, for services to deep-sea ecology.

John spent his entire career at the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS), where he become one of the world's foremost researchers on life in the deep oceans. His work contributed greatly to our knowledge of marine food chains and how commercial trawling affects fish populations in deeper waters. In 1994 he was appointed Buckland Professor, giving public lectures on deep-water fisheries all over the UK. Between 1995 and 2000 he was chairman of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas Study Group on the Biology and Assessment of Deep-sea Fishery Resources, and he provided expert advice and evidence to organisations including the European Commission, the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, the Scottish government and the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology. He retired in 2002 as Principal Scientific Officer at SAMS, but remains an honorary research fellow.


Further information

Tom Marshall
NERC media office
01793 442593