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New STFC council members appointed

30 March 2017

The Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson MP, has appointed Professor Karen Holford (Cardiff University) and Professor Tony Ryan (University of Sheffield) as new members of the Council of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). They will serve with effect from 1 March 2017 until 31 March 2018.

STFC Chairman Professor Sir Michael Sterling said: “I am delighted to welcome both Professor Holford and Professor Ryan as new members of STFC Council.  Their expertise and experience will be a valuable addition to Council’s deliberations and enable STFC to continue to deliver and support world class research, innovation and skills.”

At the same time Mr Johnson also approved the re-appointment of Gill Ball and Gerard Connell who will serve until 31 March 2018. STFC will benefit enormously from the continued contribution from both of these valued members.

Appointments to the STFC Council are made by the Minister based on merit and with independent assessment, taking account of the need to balance the Council in terms of range of experience.

Media contact

Becky Parker
STFC Media Officer
Tel: 07808 879294

Notes to editors

These appointments have been made in accordance with the requirements of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public. None of the appointees have declared any political activity or holds any other public appointment. An honorarium of £6850 per year is currently paid to all members.

The STFC Council is STFC’s governing body and its members are appointed by the Minister for Universities and Science. The council is comprised of a combination of non-executive directors from academia and industry.

The Council's terms of reference reflects its responsibility to the organisation, and its commitment to a more integrated approach to large facilities, including international negotiations; and to ensure that the STFC delivers its goals, upholds its responsibility towards its stakeholders, users, members of public and staff of the organisation.

New Council member biography

Professor Karen Holford FREng, FLSW, CEng FIMechE

Professor Karen Holford

Professor Karen Holford FREng, FLSW, CEng FIMechE
(Credit: Cardiff University)

Professor Karen Holford will, from 3 April 2017, become the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Cardiff University.

Her career began at Rolls-Royce in Bristol where she completed an undergraduate apprenticeship reading Mechanical Engineering at UWIST, followed by a PhD at the University of Wales College Cardiff. She then worked at AB Electronic Products, where she was responsible for developing automotive products for companies such as BMW, Jaguar and Rover, and was soon promoted to the role of senior engineer.

She joined the School of Engineering at Cardiff University as a lecturer in 1990, becoming Director in 2010. In 2012 she became the University’s first Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, before taking up the role of Deputy Vice-Chancellor in April 2017.

Since moving into academia over 26 years ago, Professor Holford has helped to build the now substantial international reputation of acoustic emission (AE) research at Cardiff University, with research resulting in technology that has greatly improved the safety monitoring of bridges and other structures.

Alongside her research, she is committed to the delivery of high-quality industrially relevant learning. She is co-author of the report, ‘Talented Women for a Successful Wales’, setting out the importance of getting more women into STEM careers, with all recommendations accepted by the Welsh Government in January 2017.

Professor Holford was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2015, is a Chartered Engineer (Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers) and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. She is also a member of the ESPRC Strategic Advisory network, an UpRising ambassador and was named in the Daily Telegraph’s augural list of the Top 50 Women in Engineering.

Professor Tony Ryan OBE

Professor Tony Ryan

Professor Tony Ryan OBE
(Credit: University of Sheffield)

Tony Ryan is the Professor of Physical Chemistry and Director of The Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at The University of Sheffield.   He was the head of the Chemistry Department from 1999-2004, and between 2008 and 2016 he was the Pro Vice Chancellor for Science.

His research covers: the synthesis, structure, processing and properties of polymers; addressing the global challenge of the food, water, and energy nexus through reducing the environmental impacts of urban living; feeding a growing world population through improvements in agriculture and food production processes; harnessing the power of the sun for renewable energy.

He has co-authored more than 250 papers, holds 8 patents and has written a textbook on polymer processing. 

His most recent book, called ‘The Solar Revolution: One World. One Solution. Providing the Energy and Food for 10 Billion People’, was written with social scientist Steve McKevitt.

He presented the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures on Channel 4 in2002 and is a regular contributor to TV, radio and newspapers.

He was made an OBE in 2006 for services to science.

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