5 February 2020
As part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) three additional members have been appointed to the Council of STFC.
The Science and Technology Facilities Council members appointed by UK Research and Innovation are:
The Council of STFC is responsible for advising and making decisions, as delegated to them by the UKRI Board, on scientific, research and innovation matters. These responsibilities include:
STFC Executive Chair Professor Mark Thomson said “I am very pleased to welcome Professor Aderin-Pocock, Professor Peiris and Ben Olivier as new members of STFC Council. The scientific, industrial and academic expertise of our new Council members will be a valuable addition to Council’s deliberations and enable STFC to continue to deliver and support world class research, innovation and skills”.
The members announced today reflect the diversity of communities they represent including higher education, industry, policy and civil society.
Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, said:
“I‘m delighted to welcome these new Council members to UKRI. They will play a crucial role in the development of our strategy and governance in the years ahead by stimulating, supporting and challenging the direction of our organisation. The diversity of their personal backgrounds, experience and expertise will ensure that we make the very best choices as we develop our capacity to invest in the important research and innovation questions of the future.”
Further details of the appointments can be found here.
Notes for editors
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE is a space scientist, author and BAFTA-nominated broadcaster, whose passion is presenting science to general audiences. She is the founder and managing director of Science Innovation Ltd, a company set up to change the demographics of scientists and science knowledge in the UK, and also around the world. This is done by interacting in a wide range of arenas with a focus on increased diversity especially in terms of gender, neurodiversity and ethnic balance. Through Science Innovation Ltd, Maggie has given talks to around ½ a million people around the world.
In 2019 Maggie won Vodafone’s Woman of the Year Innovation Award, she co-presents ‘Sky at Night’ the longest-running science series in the world and sits on the advisory committee for the Young Audience Content Fund at the BFI. Maggie studied at Imperial College, where she obtained her degree in Physics and her PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Since then she has spent much of her career making novel, bespoke instrumentation ranging from handheld land mine detectors to an optical subsystem for the James Webb Space Telescope.
Hiranya Peiris is Professor of Astrophysics at UCL and Director of the UCL Cosmoparticle Initiative. She is also currently serving as Director of the Oskar Klein Centre, Stockholm.
After obtaining her undergraduate degree at Cambridge, Prof. Peiris completed her PhD at Princeton. She was a Hubble Fellow at Chicago before returning to Cambridge as a STFC Halliday Fellow. She was then appointed to a lectureship (2009) and Professorship (2015) at UCL.
Prof. Peiris conducts interdisciplinary research based on extracting fundamental physics from cosmological data. She has led analyses of cosmological survey data from multiple major international facilities, as well as making major contributions to theoretical cosmology and statistical astronomy. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (2016); her work has been recognized by awards such as the IOP Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize (2018) and the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2009), as well as shares in the Gruber Cosmology Prize (2012) and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (2018). She served as a Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society (2016-2018).
Ben Olivier is a recognised leader in the international aerospace technology industry with diverse technical, industrial and organisational experience. Ben has had significant roles in growing complex, technological businesses whether as an SME or part of a major industrial grouping. His engineering career has included responsible roles on the Hubble Telescope, SOHO, ENVISAT and Rosetta. As an engineering manager Ben has led teams that have made important contributions to space missions XMM-Newton, INTEGRAL, CLUSTER 2, Planck and the Beagle 2.
Ben contributed to the commercialisation of EO data ground and space data systems that started at British Aerospace and led the SME, SEA, to produce the first UK scientific optical instrument for an ESA Earth Explorer Mission. After SEA was acquired by Thales Alenia Space (TAS) Ben became the CEO, establishing and expanding its UK operations, developing new competences and helping TAS to improve its competitiveness. Ben currently works as a coach and advisor to businesses and international organisations starting and scaling up in the space industry.
Last updated: 14 February 2020