Alison Robinson takes up role of NERC Deputy Executive Chair

27 July 2020

Today, it was announced that Alison Robinson will take up the role of NERC Deputy Executive Chair from 27 July 2020.  The new arrangement reflects the ongoing importance of environmental science and the need to ensure NERC has a coherent strategy and organisational arrangements in place to address key societal challenges and champion environmental science. This role will work with the Executive Chair and other NERC Directors to foster and further strengthen the role of NERC including its Research Centres, whilst enabling effective and generous multidisciplinary collaboration across NERC and across UKRI and external stakeholders. Alison will also continue to lead on wider engagement for NERC and UKRI environmental sustainability. 

Alison’s role as Deputy will allow the NERC Executive Chair to advocate for NERC and environmental sciences across UKRI, Government and with senior external stakeholders.  Alison has significant and longstanding experience of working successfully across NERC and its partners and her new role is intended to ensure that NERC continues to have in place strong and coordinated leadership. Alison will have oversight of the development of NERC Strategy, spending review submissions, and will chair the NERC Directors’ meeting and NERC Management Board. 

Announcing the appointment, NERC Executive Chair Professor Duncan Wingham said:

”I am delighted that Alison will take up this key role within NERC. Alison has led many of NERC’s strategic initiatives in past few years, and has demonstrated an understanding of, and commitment to the NERC mission that the Deputy role requires. Alison brings considerable experience of working in NERC, UKRI and other complex organisations, bringing together people to shape strategy and meet emerging challenges.  Alison will bring a collaborative and collegiate approach that will ensure that we work together both within NERC and across our partners to ensure NERC remains a strong champion for environmental science in the UK.”


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 part of the non-departmental public body, UK Research and Innovation. NERC has an annual budget of around £330 million of annual funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

2. Alison started out as a lawyer, working in the courts and the voluntary sector before joining the public service in Australia. Alison moved to Bangladesh in 2013, and worked with national NGOs contributing to their strategy and advocacy to support programmes promoting disability rights and preventing domestic violence. Before joining NERC as Director, Corporate Affairs in July 2014, Alison helped set-up the Legal Ombudsman, a national organisation.

Alison has a combined degree in arts & law from UNSW, Australia, and completed a research masters of social policy & planning while living and working in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Alison is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and a trustee of the UK Association of Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC).

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