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Elections to Council 2018-2019

Officers 2018/19 – notification

At the AGM (6 June 2018) Fellows will be asked to elect the following members of Council as Officers for 2018/2019:

President: Prof Nick Rogers.  Vice-Presidents: Mr Keith Seymour, Mr John Talbot.

Secretaries: Dr Colin North, Dr Katherine Royse, Dr Alex Whittaker. Secretary, Foreign & External Affairs: Dr Sarah Gordon. Treasurer: Mr Graham Goffey

Elections to Council 2018-2019

The October issue of Geoscientist invited Fellows to nominate new members of Council for election to succeed those who will be retiring at the Annual General Meeting on 6 June 2018. 

Subsequent calls were made in the email newsletter.  Nine nominations have been received for the seven vacancies.  It is important that Council is representative of the views and diversity of all the Fellowship so Fellows are urged to participate in this preliminary ballot which will determine the list for the formal vote at the Annual General Meeting.

The process for the election of members of Council is set out at section 6 of the Bye-laws and that for the election of Officers at clause 9.2.

This year we have again commissioned Electoral Reform Services (ERS) to manage the ballot for Council on behalf of the Society.  ERS is the UK’s leading independent ballot services provider, and has extensive experience of overseeing ballots for a wide range of organisations.

All Fellows for whom we have an email address should already have received voting information direct from ERS.  All other Fellows should have received a postal ballot pack.  If you have not heard from ERS via email or post, or would prefer to receive a postal ballot pack, or have any other difficulties casting your vote, please contact Stephanie Jones at the Society.

The candidates’ election statements, together with information about the background of continuing members of Council, are included in this issue of Geoscientist and in the postal ballot packs, and can also be viewed on the ERS website when you log in to vote.

Online voting closes at 23.59 on Saturday 31 March 2018.  Postal ballot forms must be sent to ERS (not to the Society) and must arrive by Saturday 31 March.


Council elections are your opportunity to choose who should serve on Council to best represent the interests of all Fellows and to shape the future of the Society.  Fellows may wish to make their choices having regard to the area of expertise of the continuing members of Council which are shown on the tables below.  Biographies of members of Council can be found here.


Continuing members of Council 2018-2019




Mr John Booth

Engineering Geology


Dr Jason Canning

Petroleum Geology


Ms Lesley Dunlop



Dr Sarah Gordon

Mining, Meteoritics, Risk


Mr Graham Goffey

Petroleum Geology


Ms Naomi Jordan

Sedimentology, Palaeontology, Palaeoenvironments


Dr Robert Larter

Marine Geophysics


Dr Colin North



Dr Sheila Peacock



Mr Nicholas Reynolds

Contaminated land, Geotechnical engineering


Prof Nick Rogers



Dr Katherine Royse

Environmental Geology


Mr Keith Seymour



Miss Jessica Smith

Engineering Geology


Mr John Talbot

Engineering Geology, Geotechnical engineering


Dr Alexander Whittaker

Tectonics and Landscape Dynamics



Members of Council retiring at the Annual General Meeting on 6 June 2018




Mr Rick Brassington



Mr Malcolm Brown

Petroleum Geology


Miss Liv Carroll



Dr Marie Edmonds

Igneous Petrology, Volcanology, Geochemistry


Mrs Tricia Henton

Environmental Geology


Dr Jennifer McKinley

Geographical Information Science and Geostatistics


Professor Christine Peirce

Marine Geophysics



Supporting statements for Council nominees

Robin Strachan has agreed, if elected, to take on the role of Secretary, Publications which will become vacant when Colin North retires from Council in June 2019.  His candidature is endorsed by Council.


jkhgMr Thomas Backhouse

Election to the council would provide an opportunity to represent students, graduates and early career geoscientists. An election to the council would ensure there is a spokesman for the future of young members within The Geological Society, able to voice ideas, concerns and further enhance the capabilities of the GS to support and benefit all members.

An election to council would also provide an opportunity to liaise with academic institutions and commercial enterprises alike, seeking to better provide careers advice, prospects and networking to members, particularly young fellows.

I am a 25-year-old geologist with a 1st Class degree in Geosciences. After university, I moved to Cornwall to become a Mining Geologist, initially tasked with innovating the process of identifying risk from historical mining activity. In 2015, I founded Terrafirma Search Ltd, focused on providing solutions to better understand, manage and resolve the risks the ground poses across the UK, winning an ‘Outstanding Achievement’ industry award in 2017. I have provided over 500 hours of CPD to professionals, public and academics and pursue a personal ambition to provide a platform for young geoscientists to create, be free-thinking and to innovate, further benefiting the commercial and academic opportunities within Geoscience.

  • Proposer:  Chris Milne
  • Supporters: Katherine Hicks & Ben Magnin


jhgMr Andrew Bloodworth

As BGS Director for Minerals and Waste, I am responsible for BGS activities related to mineral extraction and geological disposal of radioactive waste. Experience of these contentious uses of the subsurface has taught me that good decision-making requires independent, authoritative scientific information and advice. I believe that the Society has a major role to play by facilitating science debate in these areas. Using its unique status and considerable academic/ professional expertise, it should proactively inform policy makers and civil society on geoscience-related topics, including those seen as controversial.

I have been a Fellow since the early 1990s and a Chartered Geologist since 1996. For the last decade I have been a scrutineer for Chartership applications and have mentored a number of applicants. I have also served on the Society’s Chartership Appeals Panel. I strongly believe in a robust and transparent process for our Chartership candidates, and in the value of Chartership in the individual and collective development of our profession. Elsewhere, I am an Associate Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a founder member of the UK Minerals Forum.  I represent BGS at the Confederation of British Industry Minerals Group and the Mineral Resources Expert Group of EuroGeosurveys.

  • Proposer: Michael Stephenson
  • Supporters: Ian Selby & Robert Ward


gjkhgProf Max Coleman

I’m standing for Council because my skills and experience will complement those of continuing members. My contribution would be to support our basic sciences, help integrate even further the geological disciplines and communicate them to: other scientists; the public; and, most importantly, children, who could become scientists. I would bring a cross-disciplinary international view to Council.

I was elected a Fellow of the Society more than 50 years ago (at a very young age) but am still working full time in a paid job. My career includes many employment sectors: jobs at BGS, BP and Reading University. In 2003 I joined NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech. I am still there.

I joined the Society’s Science Committee in 2014 and am still a member. Previously, I served on the Accreditation Panel and the Awards Committee. I am on the Geological Society Discussion Group Committee and formerly was Geochemistry Group Chair.

Please don’t let my location deter you. I have many collaborations with British and French institutions and coordinate those visits with GSL business. I have attended every Science Committee meeting since I was appointed.

I think I can contribute and make a difference on Council and hope you think so too.

  • Proposer: Bryan Lovell
  • Supporters: John Ludden & Edmund Nickless


hjProf James Griffiths

A Fellow of 38 years’ standing, and having worked in industry and academia, my focus will be on endorsing the aspirations of professional geologists through chartership and RoGEP, promoting university degree recognition by the GSL, and supporting geology as a career choice. I also believe GSL has an important role in influencing Government policy on a host of environmental and development issues. Finally, I want to uphold the GSL in maintaining its outstanding record for world class scientific publications.

Career: 1973-76 Secondary school teacher, Geology and geography. 1976-79 research student; 1979-93 Industrial engineering geologist up to Technical Director level. 1993-2015 Plymouth University: lecturer; Head of Geology; Dean of Research. 2015 - present: consultant; writer/editor (e.g. EGSPs 27 & 28); keynote speaker; member of GSL committees and EGGS Working Parties.

Qualifications: BSc Geography and Geology, Bedford College London (1973); PhD Engineering Geomorphology, King’s College London (1983); FGS (1980), CEng (1985), CGeol (1991), EurGeol (2002), RoGEP Adviser (2011); Principal Fellow HEA (2013), Glossop Medallist (2013);

GSL Committee membership: Books Editorial Committee (since 2000); QJEGH Board (various periods since 2001); Chair of the Engineering Group 2006-8 (committee member 1997-2008); Science Committee (2006-8); Southwest Regional Group Committee (1994-2002). 

  • Proposer: George Fookes
  • Supporters: David Shilston & David Giles 


ghjProf Chris King

Ever since leaving diamond prospecting in the 1970s, I have been trying to bring the fascination of geology to a wider audience, first as a geology teacher, then as a geology teacher trainer, then by leading the Earth Science Education Unit offering professional development to thousands of teachers across the UK, and now as Emeritus Professor of Earth Science Education at Keele University. By becoming a member of Geological Society Council, I hope to carry this message forward, whilst contributing to the educational impact of the Society.

I have flown the flag internationally, by leading the development of the International Geoscience Education Organisation and currently by Chairing the IUGS Commission on Geoscience Education and the EGU Committee on Education. Nationally, I work with the Earth Science Teachers’ Association and the WJEC exam board. I have Chaired the Geological Society Education Committee in the past and been a member of the more recent iteration of the Education Committee as well. I currently Chair the Earth Science Education Forum, bringing together representatives of organisations interested in geoscience education across the country.

As a new Council member, I will hope to develop closer links between the professional geological community and education at large.

  • Proposer: David Shilston
  • Supporters: Peter Styles & Richard Fortey


gfwhDr Bryne Ngwenya

I have been a Fellow of the Society for 15 years and while my activities in that time have focused on academic research, my passion is to see this research translated into practice in order to further the aims of the Society. By serving on Council, I hope to promote and support policies that encourage closer collaboration between practitioners and academics, and use the Environment Network as a vehicle for hosting events that enable this close collaboration. Being of Malawian descent, I would also be particularly interested to be involved with the External Relations Committee.

I am a Reader in Microbial Geochemistry at the University of Edinburgh. I am also currently Head of the Earth & Planetary Sciences Research Institute, one of three institutes that make up the School of Geosciences.

I have been a Fellow of the Geological Society since 27 November 2002.  I am currently a co-opted member of the Science Committee in my role as Convenor-designate of the Environment Network.

I am currently not a member of any specialist group, but have a network of former students who work in the commercial-environmental and mining sectors, which informs my research.

Qualifications: BSc Geochemistry (Reading, 1987), PhD Geochemistry (Reading 1992).

  • Proposer: David Manning
  • Supporters: Elizabeth Copland & Alan MacDonald


ghjgMr Nigel Platt

I discovered geology at the age of 10, from the BBC documentary 'Restless Earth'. The fantastically exciting concepts of plate tectonics that it described have inspired me ever since.

The Atlantic Ocean has widened by a metre since then, and geology has taken me all around the world. As an undergraduate student I worked at an iron mine in Western Australia, hunted alluvial diamonds in the Kalahari and mapped Triassic reefs in the Dolomites.

After a PhD on the Mesozoic of Spain, I lectured at Berne University whilst developing sedimentary models in the Florida Everglades and the Swiss Molasse Basin that have been applied by researchers across the globe.

I joined industry as a seismic interpreter in 1991, working as a geologist and geophysicist in Europe, Africa, the Americas and the UK, where I now manage North Sea production for Italy’s second largest E&P company. I became a Chartered Geologist in 1993 and recently joined the Society’s Audit Committee.

Geology inspires young people whilst illuminating our planet’s history and its future. Equally, The Geological Society must honour its traditions whilst adapting and modernising to engage with a rapidly changing world. I would be honoured to help find its path.

  • Proposer: Kitty Hall
  • Supporters: Iain Bartholomew & V Paul Wright


ghjDr Helen Smyth

Helen Smyth is a Geoscience Advisor at Exploration Insights, part of Halliburton-Landmark. In addition to sitting on the Exploration Insights management team, she is responsible for Landmark’s university outreach programs globally. Through this role, Helen seeks to build closer ties between academia and industry. Helen serves on the Petroleum Geoscience Advisory Board at both Royal Holloway and Imperial College London.

Helen is a field geologist by background and has undertaken numerous expeditions in Indonesia and the Canadian Arctic. Source-to-Sink investigations were the focus of much of Helen’s early research career following her PhD and Post-Doc at Royal Holloway and subsequent geologist role CASP.

Helen served on the Petroleum Group Committee of the Geological Society between 2010 and 2016, and held the role of Publications Secretary. Through this role Helen has co-convened four conferences and edited two Geological Society Special Publications.

The previous experience working within a Geological Society committee and passion for outreach and engagement with the next generation of geoscientists would be of benefit to the Society.

  • Proposer: Michael Simmons
  • Supporters: Lawrence Cowliff & Owen Sutcliffe 


hjProf Robin Strachan

Endorsed by Council

I am passionate about developing the role and importance of the Geological Society as the pre-eminent face of geosciences in the UK, and to serve on Council would be a privilege.

I am currently Professor of Geology in the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences at the University of Portsmouth, recently having stepped down after 10 years as Head of School. I have been a Fellow of the Geological Society since 1983 and a Chartered Geologist. I served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Geological Society 1997-2005 and was then Chief Editor 2005-2011. I was awarded a Coke Medal in 2012. Since 2012, I have served as on the Books Editorial Committee as one of the Society’s Books Editors. In January 2018 I commence a four-year term as an Editor of the Geological Society of America Bulletin. I have a particular knowledge of, and interest in, scientific publishing as a result of my extensive editorial experience supporting and managing the Society’s flagship journal, and assisting in the development of Special Publications (co-editing three) and Memoirs. This experience coupled with my international contacts means that I would be able to serve Council and the Society very effectively.

  • Proposer: Michael Fowler
  • Supporters: Malcolm Whitworth & Richard Teeuw