Professor Susan Waldron named NERC Director of Research & Skills

21 November 2019

Today, it was announced that Professor Susan Waldron will take up the role of NERC Director of Research and Skills from 6 January 2020.

Susan Waldron

Susan will join NERC from the University of Glasgow where she has been Professor of Biogeochemistry.  Susan brings considerable depth of understanding of the NERC remit and portfolio as well as research expertise, leading complex research programmes and partnerships, and of multi-disciplinary teams and programmes both in the UK and internationally. Previously, Susan has held numerous leadership posts at the University of Glasgow including as Dean of Graduate Studies for the College of Science & Engineering and has been a member of the NERC Science Committee. Susan has also been a Visiting Professor at Tianjin University in China. Susan’s expertise will ensure NERC is well-placed to meet future challenges, ensure it continues to fund world-class environmental science and ensure a healthy and dynamic environmental science community that is able to tackle the environmental challenges that face us all.

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

Susan will join NERC from the University of Glasgow where she has been Professor of Biogeochemistry.  Susan brings considerable depth of understanding of the NERC remit and portfolio as well as research expertise, leading complex research programmes and partnerships, and of multi-disciplinary teams and programmes both in the UK and internationally. Previously, Susan has held numerous leadership posts at the University of Glasgow including as Dean of Graduate Studies for the College of Science & Engineering and has been a member of the NERC Science Committee. Susan has also been a Visiting Professor at Tianjin University in China. Susan’s expertise will ensure NERC is well-placed to meet future challenges, ensure it continues to fund world-class environmental science and ensure a healthy and dynamic environmental science community that is able to tackle the environmental challenges that face us all.

‘It is my pleasure to welcome Susan to the NERC team.  Her experience will be vital to leading our science & innovation programmes through the coming years and ensuring that we play our part in securing a future healthy, productive and resilient environment for all.  I am delighted Susan has chosen to join us and am confident her experience and skills are just what we need to lead NERC science & innovation.’

Professor Susan Waldron said:

‘I am honoured to be taking up the position of NERC Director of Research & Skills.  I look forward to working with the NERC team and our partners to ensure future science and innovation programmes foster curiosity and advance the frontiers of our knowledge and ensure the health of the UK environmental science base.  I look forward to contributing to this system and building on its track record for excellent environmental science.’

Notes

1. 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 and Innovation. NERC has an annual budget of around £330 million of annual funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

2. Susan Waldron joins NERC from being Professor of Biogeochemistry at the University of Glasgow. Trained in Applied Geology (University of Strathclyde), and with a PhD in methane isotope systematics (University of Glasgow), her career thereafter has allowed her to develop considerable understanding of how NERC invests in Earth system research to support the UK scientific community. After her PhD, in 1994 Susan commenced management of the NERC Life Science Community Stable Isotope Facility node hosted at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre. Here she developed the reach of the Facility, collaborating mostly with ecologists, many of whom were doctoral researchers, to enable isotope applications to their research. This role expanded her knowledge of ecological systems. In 2002 she was awarded a NERC Advanced Fellowship to probe C cycling in river systems, and in 2007 she joined the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences to complete the Fellowship and thereafter commence a proleptic lectureship. Susan was awarded her chair in 2010 and from 2014-18 she was Dean of Graduate Studies for the College of Science and Engineering, managing a Graduate School diverse in disciplinary interest and student background. Contemporaneously was Glasgow Director of the NERC-funded DTP IAPETUS1. Susan has been a core member of NERC Peer Review College since 2015 and from 2016-2019 she has been a member of NERC Science Committee.

Susan’s personal research focussed on C and nutrient cycling, with observations enabled by isotope tracing and sensor technology. This has been largely funded by NERC and has tended to focus on how systems respond to change, be these Amazonian rainforests, Chinese karst systems suffering chronic nitrate pollution, or Scottish peatlands hosting windfarms. Susan has invested in knowledge exchange as a tool to support discussion between those who extract resources from the landscape, landscape custodians, and researchers, for example most recently for example leading the production of a report on environmental considerations of onshore wind farm repowering. More information about Susan’s research can be found at www.carbonlandscapes.org