New appointments to the Natural Environment Research Council

Posted by pt91 at May 17, 2011 12:25 PM |
University of Leicester Professor, Paul Monks, among new members
New appointments to the Natural Environment Research Council

Professor Paul Monks of the Department of Chemistry.

Issued by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) on 17 May 2011

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science has announced four new appointments to the Natural Environment Research Council.

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the UK's main agency for funding and managing world-class 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 receives almost £400 million a year from the government's science budget, which it uses to provide independent research and training in the environmental sciences. It also generates external income from industry, government departments and other bodies.

Council members have corporate responsibility for all NERC's actions and those of its staff. They decide issues such as corporate strategy, key strategic objectives and targets, and major decisions involving the use of financial and other resources.

Professor Georgina Mace, CBE, FRS and Professor Paul Monks (academic members), Lord Philip Willis and Ms Rebecca Willis (non-academic members) join the Council for a period of 4 years. Their appointments are effective from 1 August 2011.

Ed Wallis, Chairman of NERC, said:

‘I’m delighted to welcome the four new members to NERC's Council. They come from a diverse range of backgrounds and bring experience of government and environmental policy-making, a broad range of scientific knowledge and a good understanding of NERC's strategic priorities.  NERC has an important role in maintaining the UK's world- leading reputation for excellent environmental research.   I have no doubt that the new members' participation in the Council's future decisions will help to uphold that reputation.'

Professor Monks, of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leicester, said: “I am excited by the challenge offered by this appointment to help shape the future of UK environmental science.  NERC delivers excellent environmental research and to be a part of that is important, there is no doubt there are future challenges to deliver excellence with impact.”

Professor Georgina Mace CBE FRS is a Professor in Conservation Science at the Centre for Population Biology, Imperial College and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

As well as her roles as Director of the Centre for Population Biology (2006-10) and Director of Science at the Zoological Society of London (2000-06), Professor Mace has been involved in numerous committees and advisory boards including membership of NERC Peer Review Committees, NERC’s Science and Innovation Strategy Board (2000-05) and the RAE panel on Environmental Sciences (2008). She also chaired the panel for the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Quinquennial review (2005-06).

Professor Mace’s research career in terrestrial ecology and evolution, has covered biodiversity, conservation biology and population biology and spanned both pure and applied sciences. She is currently Deputy Chair of the DIVERSITAS science committee (until 2011); a Trustee of the Natural History Museum, London (until 2012); President Elect (until 2011) and President (2011-13) of the British Ecological Society.

Professor Paul Monks is a Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Earth Observation Science at the University of Leicester.  He studied at the Universities of Warwick and Oxford before working at NASA/Goddard and the UEA in collaboration with CSIRO in Australia.   He is a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry.   In 2004, he was awarded the EU Lillehamer Young Scientist award.

His primary research interests are the scientific questions underlying: the role of photochemistry in the control of atmospheric composition; chemistry and transport, particularly the impact of long-range transport on chemical composition; the feedbacks between climate and atmospheric chemistry; organic complexity and the control of regional pollution and the measurement of tropospheric composition from space.   He is also actively involved in knowledge exchange with the forensic, security and health sectors.

Professor Monks is currently chair of DEFRA Air Quality Expert Group (Government Science Advisory Committee on Air Quality, BIS Space Leadership Council (provides high level advice to Space Agency and Government), Co-chair for the IGBP-IGAC project (international program that co-ordinates efforts in global environmental change research, management Committee for ACCENT+ (a EU trans-national network of atmospheric composition scientists) and Co-Chair of Met Office/NERC Scientific Strategy Group for the Joint Weather and Climate Research Program.

Lord Philip Willis is a member of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee and was previously the Chair of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. Through his involvement in specific Select Committee inquiries, Lord Willis has developed a strong understanding of priorities and challenges in the natural environment research community and become familiar with the Research Councils’ budgets and organisation.

Lord Willis has extensive leadership and management experience through roles on a range of boards and committees, as the head teacher of several comprehensive schools and as leader of Harrogate Borough Council (1990-97). His expertise includes evidence gathering, balancing public policy priorities and questioning value for money. Lord Willis is currently Chair of the Association of Medical Research Charities; Chair of the eLearning Foundation; President of AoC Charitable Trust; President of Paperworks Charity (for adults with learning difficulties); President of Yorkshire Society for the Disabled and a board member of the Foundation for Science and Technology.

Ms Rebecca Willis is an independent consultant in environmental policy and practice. She convenes Green Alliance’s Climate Change Leadership Programme for UK politicians and advises the Lake District National Park Authority on climate change issues. Previously, she was the Vice Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission (2004 – 2011), providing independent advice to government; and Director of Green Alliance, the environmental think-tank (2001 – 2004).

Ms Willis is an Associate of Ashridge Business School, a member of the Strategic Advisory Committee of the Cranfield Risk Centre and an adviser to the Community Innovation in Sustainable Energy initiative at the University of Sussex. She has taught on postgraduate courses at the Universities of Leeds and Cumbria, and while director of Green Alliance, represented UK Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as a board member of the European Environmental Bureau. She has advised government, business and the third sector on a range of issues including climate change, attitudes to the environment, public engagement in science, and the environmental and social impact of new technologies.

Further information
NERC Press Office

Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, SN2 1EU
Tel: 01793 411727 or 411561
1. Appointments to NERC are made in accordance with the requirements of the Code of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for the appointees' political activity (if any declared) to be made public.

Lord Willis has been a member of the Liberal/Liberal Democrat Party since 1985, was a Councillor from 1988 to 1999, a Member of Parliament from 1997 to Dec 2010, is currently a Member of the House of Lords and is President of Yorkshire and Humber Liberal Democrats.

No political activity has been declared by Professor Mace, Professor Monks or Ms Willis.

2.  In terms of other public appointments held, Professor Mace was appointed by the Prime Minister as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Natural History Museum, London (2004-12) and does not receive any remuneration.  Professor Monks was appointed by DEFRA as Chair of the Air Quality Expert Group (2009 – 14) and receives £223 a day (up to 40 days per annum). He was also appointed by BIS as a member of the Space Leadership Council (2010 – 13) for which he receives expenses only.

Lord Willis and Ms Rebecca Willis do not hold any other public appointments.

3.  The newly appointed members will receive an honorarium of £6,850 per annum.

4. Biographies for all NERC Council members are available.

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