Sir Keith O'Nions, BGS Board Chair

Sir Keith O’Nions

BGS Board Chair


Sir Keith O’Nions commenced as the Chair of the BGS Board in 2018. He was previously President and Rector of Imperial College London from 2010 to 2014.

Previous academic positions include professor of geology at Columbia University, Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Cambridge and head of earth sciences at the University of Oxford.

He was Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence from January 2000 until 2004, following which he moved to the Department of Trade and Industry (later the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills) to become Director General, Science and Innovation, and Chief Scientific Advisor – a position he held until 2008.

Sir Keith has participated in a broad range of academic and technological committees and served on the Board of the Natural History Museum from 1995 to 2005 (Chair from 2002) and the Council of Science and Technology from 1998 to 2000.

In 1979 he became a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 1980.  He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1983, an Honorary Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (1998), a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (2001) and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2005). He has received honorary doctorates from a number of universities.

He served on the Board of A*Star, Singapore from 2013 to 2021,was Chair of Cambridge Enterprise from 2014 to 2020 and is currently Chair of Council, University of Nottingham.

Sir Keith was knighted for services to earth sciences in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

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