NERC colleagues included in Queen's New Year Honours 2017

3 January 2017

NERC is pleased to announce that four colleagues have been recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours list 2017 for their services to polar science, diplomacy, environmental science, human health, atmospheric chemistry and glaciology.

Among those recognised are Professor Jane Francis, director of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), who has been awarded Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael & Saint George (DCMG); Professor Michael Depledge, chair of environment & human health, University of Exeter Medical School, and Professor John Pyle, professor of chemistry and holder of 1920 chair for physical chemistry, Cambridge University, who were both awarded a CBE; and Professor David Vaughan, glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey, who has been awarded an OBE.

Professor Jane FrancisProfessor Jane Francis DCMG, in recognition of services to UK polar science and diplomacy.

Professor Francis is the first woman to have chaired the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting Working Group on Science & Operations and the fourth woman in history to receive the Polar Medal. Since being appointed director of BAS in 2013, she has had a dual role of ensuring UK scientific polar excellence and promoting British sovereign interests in Antarctica. As the first female director of BAS, she has embraced gender diversity and been an inspiration and influential figure in the British scientific establishment. She has also undertaken a wide range of international roles to promote the UK's polar interests and sits on polar science advisory boards for other countries.

As well as spending many years researching geology in the polar regions, Professor Francis has been deeply involved with the Antarctic Treaty - a unique international agreement which protects the world's largest and most pristine wilderness.

Professor Francis said:

"This award comes as a surprise and an honour. It has been a pleasure to have worked together with so many friends from polar nations around the world to ensure that Antarctica remains a continent dedicated to peace and science - science that matters to everyone on planet Earth."

Professor Michael DepledgeProfessor Michael Depledge CBE, for services to the environment and human health.

Professor Depledge has played a major role in understanding the impact upon health of global environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity and fracking. His work on low level exposures of humans to everyday waste materials has been ground-breaking. His research has formed the basis of new environmental policies in the UK, European Union and beyond. At the University of Exeter Medical School, Professor Depledge was instrumental in establishing the European Centre for Environment & Human Health in 2011.

He contributed extensively to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP), and to influential reports including Novel Materials in the Environment: The case of nanotechnology (2008) - which led to the UK Nanotechnologies Strategy (2010). He is former chief scientist of the Environment Agency of England and Wales and served as a board member of NERC and Natural England.

Professor John PyleProfessor John Pyle CBE, for services to atmospheric chemistry and environmental science.

Professor Pyle is one of the world's leading atmospheric chemists. His research played a key role in providing scientific advice to the UK government and international bodies around policies related to atmospheric pollution and climate change. As a pioneer of atmospheric chemical modelling, he contributed to understanding the ozone hole, which led to the Montreal Protocol banning the use of chemicals that destroy ozone. NERC also honoured him for this work in the 2015 Impact Awards.

He is fellow of Academia Europaea (1993), the Royal Society (2004) and the American Geophysical Union (2011). Professor Pyle has also made major impacts on international discussions and proposals for safe-guarding the global climate system.

Professor David VaughanProfessor David Vaughan OBE, for services to glaciology.

Professor Vaughan is director of science at the British Antarctic Survey and the foremost UK expert on understanding the response of ice sheets in the polar regions to climate change. He served as coordinating lead author in two rounds of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports and was responsible for identifying the policy-relevant issues and negotiating the acceptance of key findings by high-level policymakers.

In 2003, Professor Vaughan was awarded the Polar Medal by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of his outstanding work on recent changes in the Antarctic ice sheet.


Further information

Sylvie Kruiniger
NERC media office
01793 412593