Curious about joining the IES Council? Wondering about the application process and what it really means to be an IES trustee? Join us for this online Q&A session where you can get all your questions answered.
In spring 2024 we will be looking to recruit new trustees to join our IES Council. We need new trustees to help work towards the IES's Vision and support an environmental science profession that is knowledgeable, skilled, diverse and trusted, and engaged in the transformation to a sustainable society.
Ahead of opening up applications for trustee positions, we’re hosting this Q&A session to give you an insight into what being an IES trustee entails. The event will be hosted by IES CEO Adam Donnan and he will be joined by current IES Council Chair Julie Hill, along with past Chairs Gary Kass and Noel Nelson, who will be sharing their experiences of being part of the IES Council before opening up to a Q&A session with our audience. This session will give you the chance to join a down-to-earth conversation about what it's really like to be on the IES Council, and gain insights, tips, and advice that will set you on the right path toward a future as an IES Council member.
Not sure if you're ready to apply? We'll break down the application process and give you a realistic view of the day-to-day responsibilities of a Council member. This is an opportunity to help you decide if this is the right move for you, now or in the future.
This event has been organised as part of our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) work. Find out more in our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2023 - 2026.
Julie Hill, IES Council Chair 2021 - 2024
Julie Hill has an academic background in English, philosophy, politics and ecology and has had a long career in environmental policy and politics. She has been Chair of IES since 2021, and was Vice Chair from 2018 to 2021. She is presently also an inaugural Non-executive Board Member of England and Northern Ireland’s Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) and Chair of the Advisory Committee for Social Science (ACSS) for the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Former board roles include Chair of the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), board member of the Eden Project, the Environment Agency (EA) and the Consumer Council for Water (CCW). Previous to those roles she was Executive Director of environmental think tank Green Alliance. Julie has written and presented widely, including a popular environmental science book ‘The Secret Life of Stuff’.
Julie was elected to the IES Council in 2016 and was appointed Vice Chair in 2018. She was elected as Chair in April 2021.
Gary Kass, IES Council Chair 2018 - 2021
Gary Kass is Visiting Professor in the Centre for Environment and Sustainability at the University Surrey and Visiting Professor of Sustainability Policy and Practice at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is an environmental and sustainability scientist and knowledge broker, with over 35 years’ practice, working at the interface of science and policy, with keen interests in handling uncertainty, fostering inter-and transdisciplinary approaches, and promoting futures, systems and values thinking.
Gary started his career as a government air quality scientist before moving to private practice as a consultant, working on a wide range of projects for clients in the UK and overseas. He joined the public sector in 1995 as Head of the Environment and Energy programme at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and became Head of Public Engagement with Science and Technology within the UK Government. Gary joined Natural England in 2007 served as Deputy Chief Scientist between 2014 and 2022 and Defra deputy Chief Scientific Adviser in 2016; and most recently served as Deputy Director for Foresight and Innovation. He has recently been appointed as a member of the Office for Environmental Protection College of Experts and a member of the Natural England Science Advisory Committee Social Science Expert Panel.
Gary has also worked widely in academia, including serving on the Natural Environment Research Council’s Innovation Advisory Board and the Research Excellence Framework Geography and Environmental Studies sub-panel in 2014 and 2021, focusing particularly on impact and policy relevance. Gary held a Fellowship at the University of Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy and is currently a Vice-President of the Institution of Environmental Sciences and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Gary joined the IES in 2013, became a Fellow in 2014, and joined the IES Council in the same year. "I am keen to...take an active role in driving up the standards of science and knowledge exchange in evidence-based approaches to policy and decision-making. I have a particular interest in interdisciplinary, systems-based approaches to applying science to environment and sustainability challenges and to this end... The IES can reach widely across the environmental sciences and across the academic, practitioner, policy-maker divides, helping to move environmental sciences forward and maximise the chances of achieving impact in tackling real-world issues."
Gary was elected Vice Chair in 2015 and served as Chair between 2018 and 2021. In 2021 he was elected Vice President in recognition of his service to the IES.
Noel Nelson, IES Council Chair 2015 - 2018
Noel has been actively involved in environmental work for over 30 years. After obtaining a degree in Physics and an MSc in Environmental Technology he worked for a short time at the University of Essex on the North Sea Project (investigating atmospheric loading to the North Sea) before joining the Met Office, where he has spent most of his career. At the Met Office he developed expertise in short and long range atmospheric dispersion modelling, working initially on the Met Office's Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment (NAME) as well as early versions of ADMS. He was instrumental in developing the Met Office Environmental Consultancy Group which addressed both air quality and climate change related problems. In 1999 he teamed up with GP William Bird and developed the weather and health initiative - 'Forecasting the Nation's Health'. This initiative looked to exploit the growing evidence that changes in certain weather parameters, especially temperature, at crucial times of the year, could influence the NHS workload.
Shortly after, the Met Office, in collaboration with the Department of Health and the NHS, trialled the first Winter Health Forecast. It was deemed a success and the Met Office has since developed the forecasts still further. In 2004 Noel Nelson was seconded to the air quality policy team at Defra as a science policy adviser, and worked on a range of projects including the transboundary development and transport of tropospheric ozone, the Air Quality Expert Group report on Air Quality and Climate Change: A UK Perspective, and contributed to the Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales.and Northern Ireland (2007).
Noel then worked for the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and contributed to three Command Reports before returning to the Met Office based at the Institute for Animal Health (now the Pirbright Institute). Here Noel was engaged in research into the atmospheric transmission and dispersion of specific animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth, Bluetongue and Schmallenberg Disease. Since 2018 Noel has been working on a multi-million pound research programme, the Strategic Priority Fund Clean Air. Clean Air seeks to bring together a wide range of experts spanning the physical, social and life sciences to the atmospheric sciences, arts and humanities to address the problems of poor air quality and its impact on health. The programme is looking to better enable the UK’s experts to tackle a range of air quality related problems both now and in the future.
Many problems associated with the environment are multi-disciplinary in nature. Consequently when attempts to solve a specific environmental problem is done in isolation it often results in the creation of problems in other sectors. What is required is a co-ordinated multidisciplinary approach. This is one of the reasons Noel chose to join the IES Council. He believes the IES has been attempting to address environmental concerns at the most fundamental level; this includes keeping a watchful eye on education, which is hopefully helping to provide the up and coming generation of environmental experts with the tools they require to contribute to the solutions.
Noel joined the IES Council in 2008. He was elected Vice Chair in 2012 and Chair in 2015. In 2018 he was elected Vice President.
Adam Donnan, IES CEO
Adam has worked for the IES in various roles since 2006. In 2013, he was made the organisation's first CEO. Adam is the Chair of the Science Council. He also Chairs the Technical Pathways Programme Board, which oversees a project to engage the science community with technical education.
Past roles include a secondment as Interim CEO of the Society for the Environment (2014-15), Vice President of the European Network of Environmental Professionals (ENEP) (2013-16), director of SiLC, and a non-Executive Director of Change Agents UK (2011-16). He was the 2014 Young Leader of the Year at the Association Awards UK. He holds an MBA and a BA History, is a Chartered Environmentalist, and has a passion for long distance running.