Karen Hanghøj named Director of the British Geological Survey

3 July 2019

Today, it was announced that Karen Hanghøj will take up the role of Director of the British Geological Survey (BGS) from October 2019.

Karen HanghøjKaren will join NERC from EIT RawMaterials, a knowledge and innovation community supported by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology. She brings extensive experience, including with the Geological Survey of Denmark & Greenland, as an academic researcher and in business.

She is also a member of a range of international advisory boards, currently including the High-Level Steering Group of the European Innovation Partnership for Raw Materials, a range of H2020 projects and the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) Minerals Working Group. Karen's expertise will ensure the BGS is well placed to meet future challenges and ensure it continues as a globally-leading survey, delivering services and providing infrastructure support nationally and globally. Karen is the first woman to hold the post.

Announcing the appointment, NERC Executive Chair Professor Duncan Wingham said:

Karen's wealth of knowledge and international experience in science and innovation, including commercialisation, makes her very well placed to take on the role of the BGS Director. Under Karen's leadership, I am confident that the BGS will continue in its role as a world-leading survey and will ensure new innovative services and research continue to develop from its experience. I look forward to working with Karen and supporting her and BGS to continue its success, both in the UK and internationally.

Sir Keith O'Nions, Chair of the Board of the British Geological Survey, said:

I am delighted to welcome Karen as the next Director of the British Geological Survey. She will bring fresh challenge and insight that I am sure will push the BGS to further develop its role as a world-class survey. Karen, I am sure, will ensure we remain at the forefront of new ways of working for the benefit of government, business and the wider public.

Karen Hanghøj said:

I am honoured to be taking up the role of the Director of the BGS. I look forward to joining such a world-renowned organisation and to leading it into its next stage. The services BGS provides are, and will continue to be, central to all our lives in the UK and globally, and I want to build on the depth of skill, knowledge and innovation at BGS to ensure that we continue to deliver world-class research, data and advice in the future.

Dr Tracy Shimmield, BGS Lyell Centre Director, will act as interim Director from 1 September to 13 October, when Dr Hanghøj takes up her post.

Further information

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1. BGS, a component body of NERC, is the nation's principal supplier of objective, impartial and up-to-date geological expertise and information for decision making for governmental, commercial and individual users. BGS maintains and develops the nation's understanding of its geology to improve policymaking, enhance national wealth and reduce risk. It also collaborates with the national and international scientific community in carrying out research in strategic areas, including energy and natural resources, our vulnerability to environmental change and hazards, and our general knowledge of the Earth system.

2. NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We coordinate 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 part of the non-departmental public body, UK Research & Innovation. NERC has an annual budget of around £330 million of annual funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

3. Karen holds a PhD in geology from the University of Copenhagen, and has worked extensively with research on geological processes in the lower crust and mantle and their associated mineral deposits. She has spent more than 10 years working in the US as a Research Associate at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and as a Research Scientist at Columbia University and has furthermore worked as a consultant to the minerals exploration industry for more than 20 years. Before joining EIT RawMaterials, Karen was head of the Department of Petrology & Economic Geology at the Geological Survey for Denmark & Greenland (GEUS).