Professor named new Chair of NERC Science Committee

  • Date

    Thu 14 Nov 19

Graham Underwood

Professor Graham Underwood is the new Chair of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Science Committee.

Professor Underwood has extensive research experience from his role as Professor of Marine and Freshwater Biology in our School of Life Sciences and from working with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Environment Agency on various advisory panels and statutory committees.

He also has a wealth of experience in working with NERC since 2002 including as a member of the predecessor body to the Science Committee (the Science and Innovation Strategy Board), the NERC peer review college and recently as Chair of the Strategic Programmes Advisory Group (SPAG).

NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Its 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.

Announcing the appointment, NERC Executive Chair Professor Duncan Wingham said: “Graham’s wealth of knowledge and extensive experience in environmental science research and in advising Government, NERC and his University in strategic roles makes him very well-placed to take on this role as the Chair of the NERC Science Committee. Graham’s judgement and experience in ensuring well run committees alongside his experience in ensuring robust scientific debates will stand us in good stead in terms of future advice and funding decisions.”

Professor Underwood said: “I am honoured to be taking up the role of Chair of the NERC Science Committee. Ensuring NERC is well advised and challenged to ensure it keeps funding the best and most innovative environment science remains a core part of its mission, and I look forward to contributing to that in my role as Chair and alongside NERC Council and Science Committee members.

“NERC is an important funder for Essex, supporting a wide range of national and international research programmes in the School of Life Sciences, and through our membership of the NERC doctoral training programmes EnvEast and Aries. Addressing our pressing global environmental challenges will also require more interdisciplinary work, and within the context of UK Research and Innovation, I look forward to supporting more cross-research council funding initiatives.”