New Board created for the British Geological Survey

13 March 2018

NERC and the British Geological Survey (BGS) have today announced the membership of the first BGS Board.

The BGS Board has been created to assist BGS meet future challenges and ensure it continues as a globally leading survey, delivering services and providing infrastructure support nationally and globally. The Chair and Board will work closely with the BGS Director and the NERC Chief Executive to shape BGS's successful future.

NERC and Sir Keith O'Nions, the BGS Chair, have appointed a high quality Board of non-executive directors to support the Board Chair and BGS executive team in shaping the organisation's strategy and business plans. This will enable BGS to deliver its mission, manage commercial risk and diversify its funding.

Announcing the Board membership, Sir Keith O'Nions, said:

"I am delighted to announce the make-up of the first BGS Board. I am very pleased that we have attracted a high-calibre and diverse range of people who will all, bringing their specific skills and experience, enhance the strong reputation of the British Geological Survey.

I look forward to working with my new Board and all of those at BGS to build on the fine history and experience of BGS, the wider geoscience community and NERC to ensure a collaborative and coherent approach to maximise BGS's future capability and capacity."

The new Board members are:

  • Sir Keith O'Nions (Chair)
  • Sir Michael Dixon (Director, Natural History Museum)
  • Dr Donna Kirkwood (Chief Scientist, Natural Resources Canada)
  • Olivier Peyret (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Schlumberger France)
  • Joanne Wilson (Vice President Corporate and UK Company Controller, Shell International)
  • David Simpson (Council member of Cardiff University)
  • Professor Richard Williams OBE (Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Heriot-Watt University)
  • Paul Fox (Chief Operating Officer, NERC)
  • Professor John Ludden CBE (Executive Director, BGS)
  • Dr Mike Patterson (Chief Operating Officer, BGS)

Professor Duncan Wingham, NERC Chief Executive and Executive Chair Designate, said:

"I welcome this array of talent to the BGS Board, and am confident it will provide the leadership and challenge needed to ensure BGS continues to punch above its weight to the benefit of us all, both in the UK and internationally. I look forward to working with Sir Keith and BGS Board members to sustain BGS's role as a world-class survey."

NERC and BGS have agreed that BGS will operate at arm's length from NERC, with a structure that mirrors that of a wholly owned incorporated subsidiary within the single legal entity. From 1 April 2018, that legal entity will be UK Research & Innovation (UKRI).

Professor John Ludden, Executive Director, BGS, said:

"I am delighted to welcome the new Board members to BGS. The addition of this first Board to bring challenge and insight will help push BGS to further develop its role as a world-class survey, bring new ideas to assist us to continue to diversify, and ensure we remain at the forefront of new ways of working for the benefit of government, business and the wider public."

Further information

Clive Mitchell
BGS Press Office
0115 936 3257
07815 537439


1. BGS, a component body of NERC, is the nation's principal supplier of objective, impartial and up-to-date geological expertise and information for decision making for governmental, commercial and individual users. BGS maintains and develops the nation's understanding of its geology to improve policymaking, enhance national wealth and reduce risk. It also collaborates with the national and international scientific community in carrying out research in strategic areas, including energy and natural resources, our vulnerability to environmental change and hazards, and our general knowledge of the Earth system.

2. 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, food security, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC receives around £300 million a year from the government's science budget, which it uses to fund research and training in universities and its own research centres.

From 1 April 2018, NERC will become part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI)