New appointments to NERC Council

5 February 2020

UK Research and Innovation has appointed three new members to NERC Council – Matthew Harwood, Rebecca Heaton and Clare Matterson.

NERC Council is responsible both for advising the NERC Executive Chair and making decisions, as delegated to it by the UKRI Board, on scientific, research and innovation matters.

NERC Council members represent research and innovation across higher education, industry and commerce, policy and/or civil society, reflecting different characteristics and professional backgrounds.

Professor Duncan Wingham, NERC Executive Chair, welcomed the appointments saying: "I’m delighted to welcome these new members to the NERC Council. Clare, Matthew and Rebecca bring valuable expertise, knowledge and insight to the council and together with the existing members are vital to ensuring that NERC remains the driving force of investment in environmental science in the UK.”

Today’s announcement is one of a number of Council appointments made by UKRI.

Biographies of NERC Council appointments:


Matthew Harwood

Matthew HarwoodMatthew Harwood (PhD, CEng) is a strategist focussed on leading global businesses through fundamental market change via the development and delivery of growth strategies, innovation, acquisitions and portfolio rationalisation. He is the Global Vice President, Strategy and Sustainability at McDermott and has a wealth of experience across oil and gas, utilities, chemicals, clean technology and renewables sectors derived from executive and non-executive roles. Matthew has recently joined the board of Netpower – a business building a zero carbon power generation technology.


Dr Rebecca Heaton

Rebecca HeatonDr Rebecca Heaton is responsible for Drax Group’s efforts to mitigate climate change, ensuring that sound science underpins climate change polices and business strategy. She is also responsible for developing sustainability and climate change research programmes. She has a 20 year global career working at the interface between business, science and policy. After an early career in academia, she has held senior roles in a number of large energy companies. A Chartered Forester, her expertise spans energy, climate change and land-use and the role business has to play in enabling the UK to decarbonize. She is also a member of the UK Committee on Climate on Change.


Clare Matterson CBE

Clare MattersonClare Matterson is the Executive Director of Engagement for the Natural History Museum responsible for public programmes, commercial, communications and international activities.

She was Chief Executive of EAT, a global foundation for healthy and sustainable food systems. She worked for 18 years at the Wellcome Trust as Director of Strategy and Director of Culture and Society, where she led many initiatives, co-founding Wellcome Collection, establishing the UK’s National STEM Learning Centre and initiating ‘Our Planet Our Health’.

Clare has a Zoology degree from the University of Oxford, is a member of the US National Academy of Science’s LabX Advisory Board and a Trustee of the Horniman Museum. She was awarded the Queen’s honour, CBE for services to public engagement with science.