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Four NERC colleagues get royal recognition

4 January 2016

NERC is pleased to announce that four colleagues have been recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours list 2016 for their services to higher education, science, the economy through risk, insurance and sustainable growth, and to science and public communication of science.

We would like to congratulate:

Professor Sir Paul CurranProfessor Sir Paul Curran, knighted for services to higher education.

The current Vice-Chancellor of City University London, Sir Paul has contributed to the world of science both through his award-winning work in ecological earth observation and through his leadership of several academic bodies and institutions. His expertise guided NERC through his council membership from August 2006 to July 2014, during which time he also served on our Audit & Risk Assurance Committee.

A former NASA research scientist and advisor to the European Space Agency (ESA), his most recent research involved the estimation of terrestrial chlorophyll content at regional scales. The Vice-Chancellor is a recipient of the Remote Sensing Society's Gold Medal and has received achievement awards from the Royal Geographical Society, NASA, ESA and the International Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing.

From held a research post with the NASA Ames Research Center in California to spearheading the transformation of Bournemouth University between 2005 and 2010, Sir Paul's impact on academia has been far-reaching.

Professor Dame Georgina MaceProfessor Dame Georgina Mace, knighted for services to science.

Serving NERC council member and FRS professor of Biodiversity & Ecosystems, and director of the Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research at University College London, Dame Georgina's contributions to the fields of population and biodiversity were recognised in the honours.

Her work on biodiversity loss and ecosystem change led to the development of criteria for listing species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of threatened species, and was a coordinating lead author for biodiversity in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Recently, she has worked on the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, was a co-investigator on the NERC Valuing Nature Network, and associate director of the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme.

Winner of the 2007 international Cosmos prize, Dame Georgina was president of the Society for Conservation Biology from 2007-2009, and president of the British Ecological Society from 2011-2013. She also lends her expertise as a member of the Council of the Royal Society, and Chair of the science committee for the DIVERSITAS global change research programme.

Rowan DouglasRowan Douglas, awarded a CBE for services to the economy through risk, insurance and sustainable growth.

Chief Executive Officer of Capital, Science, and Policy Practice and the Willis Group, Rowan's practice confronts large scale challenges of risk, resilience and sustainable growth at global and local scales through public, private and mutual mechanisms.

As well as previously serving on NERC Council, Rowan serves on the Prime Minister's Council for Science & Technology. He also chairs the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Private and Financial Sector Working Group in preparation for the UN Agreement on Climate Services in 2015.

Rowan is also chairman of the Willis Research Network (WRN) which he founded in 2006. The WRN has grown to become the world's largest collaboration between public science and the finance sector supporting around fifty universities and science institutions to support improved policy making and capital management.

Dr Emily ShuckburghDr Emily Shuckburgh, awarded an OBE for services to science and the public communication of science.

Current Deputy Head of Polar Oceans at the British Antarctic Survey, Emily's work not only in contributing to, but communicating science to the public was recognised.

Dr Emily Shuckburgh's research focuses on understanding the role of the polar oceans in the global climate system. Her personal research concerns investigating the dynamics of the atmosphere, oceans and climate using theoretical approaches, observational studies and numerical modelling.

A member of both the Scientific Steering Committee of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences and the Cambridge Forum for Sustainability and the Environment, she brings her expertise to many forums across the University of Cambridge. She is also a fellow of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, which is dedicated to working with leaders from business, government and civil society on the critical global challenges of the 21st century.

Emily is the lead-author of a report 'Climate Science, the Public and the News Media'.

Further information

Tamera Jones
NERC media office
01793 411561
07917 557215


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 non-departmental public body. We receive around £330m of annual funding from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.