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Elections to Council

Sarah Fray, Executive Secretary, urges all Fellows to cast their votes for Council.

The total number of Fellows voting in 2015 was 982 from an electorate of around 11,500. This year we have a record 17 nominations for Council, which is an unprecedented number of people coming forward, numbers which will be the envy of very many similar organisations. Please do vote.

Council holds a critical role in the Society, providing strategy, oversight and decision-making – its mandate to do this comes from you, the Fellowship, through your vote. Voting is your opportunity to influence the strategic direction of the organisation and our breadth of activities and ambitions. With such a strong field of candidates from different areas of the geosciences there are very strong reasons for wanting to support the selection of new Council members. 

The candidates have committed to give a considerable amount of their time and energy to serve and support the Society if elected – so please, give a very little of your time to participate.

Elections to Council 2016-2017

The October issue of Geoscientist invited Fellows to nominate new members of Council to succeed those retiring at the Annual General Meeting on 8 June 2016. Seventeen nominations have been received for the seven places.  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 for the election of Officers at clause 9.2. 

Instructions for Balloting

This year we have commissioned Electoral Reform Services (ERS) to manage the ballot for Council on behalf of the Society.  ERS are a highly respected independent organisation providing balloting services and scrutinising.  They undertake balloting activities for a wide variety of organisations including many professional institutions, trade unions and companies.

Voting online

This year Fellows will receive voting information direct from ERS by email.  The email will include a unique user name and password to access their website, which will host the election vote.  Please follow ERS’s instructions, which will be contained in the email from them.  If you have difficulties please contact the Society.  If you prefer a postal vote - please also contact the Society and we will ask ERS to mail a voting pack directly to you.

ERS will post a postal ballot paper, and an envelope for its return, directly to Fellows who are unable to vote online.  Please follow the instructions provided with the voting papers, and return your vote in the provided envelope to ERS, not to the Society.

Fellows should make their mark against the names of up to seven candidates they wish to serve as ordinary members of Council.  Papers with marks against more than seven names will be invalid. 

  • NOTE: Fellows may only vote once, either online or by returning the postal ballot to ERS

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 are asked to make their choices having regard to the areas of expertise among continuing members of Council, as shown in the table.  Biographies of Council members are at

Continuing members of Council 2016-2017




Mr Rick Brassington



Mr Malcolm Brown

Petroleum Geology


Miss Liv Carroll

Mineral Exploration and Mining


Dr Nigel Cassidy



Mr Chris Eccles

Engineering Geology


Dr Marie Edmonds

Igneous Petrology, Volcanology, Geochemistry


Mr Graham Goffey

Petroleum Geology


Mrs Tricia Henton

Environmental Geology


Mr David Hopkins

Extractive Industries


Dr Jennifer McKinley

Geographical Information Science and Geostatistics


Professor David Norbury

Engineering Geology


Dr Colin North



Professor Christine Peirce

Marine Geophysics


Dr Katherine Royse

Environmental Geology


Mr Keith Seymour



Mr Michael Young




Members of Council retiring at AGM, 8 June 2016




Mrs Natalyn Ala



Dr Angela Coe

Sedimentology & Stratigraphy


Mr Jim Coppard

Mineral Exploration


Mrs Jane Dottridge



Mr David Jones



Professor David Manning



Dr Lucy Slater

Petroleum Geology/Geophysics



Candidates' statements

Dr Jason Canning

jklhI am currently Chief Geologist at BG Group and have been working in the Petroleum Industry for almost 20 years. I have been a fellow of the Society since 1999 and a Chartered Geologist since 2015. I completed a BSc at Oxford Brookes (1993) and a have PhD from the University of Birmingham (1997).

I am standing for Council to impact our Society in two ways. First, I think our Society can play a stronger role in supporting the Geoscience profession.   Low commodity prices mean that those members of our society who work in extractive industries face increased uncertainty and perhaps periods of unemployment.  One way we can help, is to encourage Fellows to get more out of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) records. Recording of CPD activity is an important way of documenting our skills, capabilities and experience. I want to share my experience of managing such schemes in industry. 

Secondly, I want to improve links between industry and academia. Specifically, I think I can share my own experiences to help the Society to encourage sharing of data between industry and researchers, with the aim of the Society becoming the forum for more regular interaction between the two. I also believe the Society can help to steer taught courses to deliver more of what industry requires.

I think focusing on these two areas will help the Geological Society to be a more inclusive, collaborative and supportive Society.

Proposer:  Brian Mitchener

Supporters: Nicholas Pierpoint and Mark Houchen


Ms Teresa Ceraldi

jkMy enthusiasm and passion for geology has been a key driver throughout my life pushing me to travel all over the world for studies and work. I studied Geology at University of Roma Tre Italy (BSc +MSc) and then worked as a field geologist with the Italian Geological Survey.  In 2003 I moved to the US where I completed an MSc at Saint Louis University and then I went to Texas A&M as a Graduate Research Assistant.

I have been working as an Exploration Geologist at BP for nine years in London on a number of projects all across Africa.  During this time I maintained links to the academic world by writing papers and presenting at conferences. I have been GSL fellow since 2013, member of Petroleum Group Committee since 2012 and then Secretary. During this time I contributed to many initiatives, I convened the “Petroleum Geology of the West Africa Margin” Conference (2014) and I am currently editor of the relevant GSL Special Publication. If I am fortunate enough to be elected, I would like to inspire and motivate more women to pursue degrees in Geoscience or STEM subjects and to actively careers in Science and Technology.  The continuous demand for energy and innovation will require access to the whole pool of talent the world has to offer going beyond barriers of gender, race and nationality. The GSL must continue to be at the forefront of this process and I would like contribute to it.

Proposer: Alastair Fraser

Supporters: Kitty Hall and Patrick Gomersall


Dr Richard Collier

kljhI am Senior Lecturer in Tectonics and Sedimentation and Co-Director of the Institute of Applied Geosciences at the University of Leeds, and a Fellow of the Geological Society for 25 years. Following my first degree in London I worked in Conoco’s exploration department before completing my PhD in Leeds. Since then, academic research quantifying tectono-sedimentary processes in active rift basins has also been applied to hydrocarbon exploration and reservoir analysis problems.

When Learning and Teaching Director in Leeds, our undergraduate courses were re-accredited by the Geological Society and we achieved the top discipline rating in the Quality Assurance Agency’s institutional audit of teaching. This gives me the experience to contribute to one forthcoming challenge facing our subject and the Society, the development of the new Teaching Excellence Framework, and the role the Society may be expected to play as the professional, statutory and regulatory body (PSRB) facing the discipline.

I have run numerous field and class-based courses for oil industry clients and am keen to promote CPD activity across the sector. I am also keen to help enhance student, public and political perceptions of the discipline as, for example, the energy sector responds to the new environmental context.

Proposer: Simon Bottrell

Supporters: Bill McCaffrey and David Hodgson


Dr Sarah Gordon

kljhAn understanding of geology is a critical component of many decisions; whether environmental, business, or societal.  I’m lucky enough to work in both industry and academia, specialising in making geology exciting and accessible to decision makers.  I would be honoured to do this on behalf of the Geological Society.

I’m currently the Managing Director of the risk management consultancy Satarla.  Satarla works with clients from all industries, from mining and energy, to utilities, charities and finance.  I’m also an Honorary Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London.  Prior to this I worked with the mining company Anglo American, in both the exploration and safety & sustainability teams.  This broad background, coupled with my PhD in meteoritics, allows me to explore many aspects of the geological discipline.

I’ve been a Fellow of the Society for over 10 years; I also work with the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network; the Institute of Risk Management; and was named as one of the 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining 2015.  I provide training and advice on behalf of these organisations and would welcome the opportunity to make a contribution through the Council of the Geological Society.

Proposer: Michael Forrest

Supporters: Benedikt Steiner and Keenan Jennings


Mr Toby Hopkins

kjhI am putting myself forward for Council because I believe that the Geological Society is a good home for geologists who, like me, use their scientific abilities in other fields. The professional standards, knowledge and values espoused by the Geological Society can benefit people working in a wide range of professions.  I hope to ensure the Society grows and retains these members.

I have been a member of the Geological Society since 2001 when I was nominated as a Junior Candidate Fellow.  I graduated with an Earth Sciences degree from the University of Oxford in 2007 and have since worked in a number of roles within the nuclear industry, focusing on waste management, decommissioning and permitting, achieving Chartered Scientist status. Through my work I have learnt the importance of communicating complex scientific information to the public.  The Geological Society already does good work to engage the wider public, and this is something I would hope to further.

As Chair of the Western Regional Group, I was responsible for coordinating the society's activities at a local scale. As a result I have attended the Professional Committee for the last three years, giving me practical experience of working within the Society's structures.

Proposer: Elisabeth Andrews

Supporters: Joshua Morland and Gemma Sherwood


Dr Stuart Jones

kjhI am a Senior Lecturer at Durham University, with research interests in clastic sedimentology, geopressure and diagenesis.  I completed a BSc (Hons) in Geology at Aberystwyth University and followed on with a PhD in Sedimentology at the University of Reading. A brief excursion in to the hydrocarbon industry made me realise how I wanted to be at the interface between academic research and its application to industry. Ever since, my research has been focused on subsurface and outcrop sedimentological data for improved reservoir model development and reducing subsurface risk and uncertainty, working in close collaboration with the hydrocarbon industry. 

I am passionate about Earth Sciences and trying to inspire and nurture the next generation of geoscientists. As a past recipient of a STEMnet Science ambassador of the year award for my Earth Science outreach activities into schools and colleges, I feel that I can significantly contribute to the Society’s knowledge exchange and wider engagement activities.

I have been a fellow of the Geological Society for 25 years and have served as secretary of a Geological Society Specialist Group: the British Sedimentological Research Group during 2002-2005 and a member of the Awards Committee from 2008-2013.

Proposer: Mark Allen

Supporters: Lynne Frostick and Jon Gluyas


Ms Naomi Jordan

kljhI was excited to read Sarah Fray’s vision in September’s Geoscientist outlining where she hoped to steer the Society, and I would like the opportunity to serve on Council to address the interests of the membership as a whole, plus expand our work in public engagement. I can contribute practical knowledge and experience in outreach and teaching across all ages, in the classroom, during events, in the field and online.

In addition to completing my PhD in Lower Jurassic palaeoenvironments at Imperial College London, I teach hands-on science in an inner-city London primary school, tutor A-Level and undergraduate geology students and teach an adult geology class, along with setting up a geology outreach business. During my undergraduate time at the University of Leeds, and my PhD I have worked with a range of organisations designing and implementing outreach activities, including the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, British Geological Survey, Leeds Museum Services, RockWatch, Lyme Regis Fossil Festival and with both universities. 

Though I only became a Fellow this year, I look forward to the opportunity to work with the Society to improve communication, not only at events, but through online resources accessible to all, and to develop Sarah Fray’s vision.

Proposer: Haydon Bailey

Supporters: Holger Kessler and Michael Howe


Dr Robert Larter

jkhThe Geological Society has an important role in today’s world in communicating the societal relevance of our science, championing public funding for it, delivering impartial advice, and offering professional accreditation.

I am a marine geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). After graduating in Geology from Durham University, I gained an MSc in Petroleum Exploration Studies from the University of Aberdeen. I then worked as a Research Associate at the University of Birmingham for several years while studying for my PhD in marine geophysics on a part-time basis. During 28 years at BAS I have managed a range of science projects in fields ranging from subducting margins to ice sheet history and dynamics. I have led eight research cruises and mentored many early career scientists and students. I believe more can be done to involve students and early career scientists in the Society, and that this is crucial to its long-term future.

I have been a Fellow since 1998 and was Secretary and Treasurer of the Marine Studies Group from 1999 to 2004. I was a member of the working group that developed the Society’s statement on climate change in 2010, and the addendum to it in 2013.

Proposer: Philip Leat

Supporters: Colin Summerhayes and Neil Mitchell


Dr Daniel Le Heron

hI’m a sedimentary geologist based in Royal Holloway, University of London, where I’ve worked for the last seven years. I held several short-term research contracts and postdoctoral positions before that, notably in Strasbourg, Cambridge, and Hannover. I’ve been a Fellow since I graduated from Aberystwyth University, gaining a BSc in 2000 and a PhD in 2004.

I am passionate about training the next generation of geologists - and in my current job spend a considerable amount of teaching time in the field. I would like to see the field experience restored to its rightful position at the heart of training for any geoscientist of any persuasion. Our understanding of rocks under our feet - the extent of ore bodies, the depth and continuity of coal seams, the architecture of hydrocarbon reservoirs, the geometry of sedimentary units identified as potential repositories for the storage of hazardous waste - draws heavily on inspiring, excellent and relevant field experiences in our university days.  Fieldwork has immense potential in continuing professional development across our fields, and I believe that the development of four-dimensional thinking through such experiences is foundational.

I’ve just stepped down as a committee member of the Petroleum Group, and as Secretary of the British Sedimentological Research Group.  I have served both for the last four years.  I’ve gained a lot from belonging to the Geological Society already in my career - great friendships, collaborations and organising several conferences - and that’s why I’m prepared to devote my time to Council, and working for the greater good of our subject, and of the Society, if elected.

Proposer: David Hodgson

Supporters: Christopher Jackson and Gary Nichols


Mr Jack Matthews

jklhI am a young Ediacaran geologist, focusing on aspects of palaeontology and stratigraphy; although my interests also extend to geoconservation and the communication of research. I have been a Fellow since 2010, and am currently in the process of completing my DPhil.

I make no attempt to hide the fact that other candidates will likely have many more years’ experience than I, and I am a great believer in that quote of the Ex-President, H.H.Read “The best geologist is the one who has seen the most rocks”. However, our Society is one open to all ages. If it is to remain relevant to a new generation of early career geologist, our Council must also be open and reflective of our membership.

Having previously served as a Trustee of a charity, I am well versed in the financial and legal responsibilities associated with the role. But the position is more than this; I want to be your voice on the Council, ensuring your ideas and concerns are heard, and that the Society is providing for the needs of the Fellowship, both current and future.

For a Council that’s closer to the membership, please consider supporting my candidacy.

Proposer: Bruce Levell

Supporters: David Pyle and Anthony Watts


Mr Simon Neale

hI believe the Geological Society is the keystone of the geological profession in the UK, helping individuals to achieve success in their professional careers. 

If elected, I would see the opportunity to support the Society in achieving its aim of serving science and profession as a privilege.  I would wish to use the experience I have in helping develop early career geoscientists to strengthen the Societies outreach to those pursuing a career in geoscience and supporting our young geoscientists, helping them grow into the professionals they wish to be.  I believe this would help secure the future of our profession and ensure a vibrant membership of the Geological Society.

I am a hydrogeologist with 25 years’ experience within the regulatory sphere at regional, national and international level.  I gained a degree in Geology from University College Cardiff in 1982 and a Masters in Hydrogeology from University of Reading in 1995.  I am currently employed as Future Regulation Manager at Natural Resources Wales.

I became a Fellow in 2009, becoming Chartered in 2013.  I have served on the committee of the Society’s Hydrogeology Group, most recently as Chair, where we have sought to provide a full and varied programme in support of our group’s interests.

Proposer: Adrian Butler

Supporters: Rob Low and Mike Price


Dr Sheila Peacock

jklhI am standing for Council because I believe every professional needs a respected society that represents its members and their science. I want to promote engagement with decision makers, particularly politicians, explaining the world around us in terms of earth science, to ensure they understand the consequences of their decisions for geoscientists, users of geoscience and the future of the environment.

I am currently employed with a Ministry of Defence contractor supporting seismological monitoring of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, having been a lecturer at the University of Birmingham (Applied Geophysics MSc 1991-2002), computer officer/administrator (2002-4), and supported professional accreditation of the University's Computer Science courses.  I was a research fellow at the University of Reading (1987-1991), BSc Geophysics (Newcastle 1983), PhD (Edinburgh 1987), and CPhys MInstP.  I joined the Geological Society in 1990. I am on the committee of the British Geophysical Association (1998-present), as secretary (2007-9), and representative on the committee for the Geological Society bicentennial conference (2006-7). I was on the Council of the Royal Astronomical Society (2013-15), the committee of AUT (now UCU) of Birmingham University local association (1998-2005; honorary secretary 2000-2002), and now am workplace health, safety and environment rep in Prospect.

Proposer: David Bowers

Supporters: Mark Allen and Colin Sargent


Dr Chiara Petrone

jklI am Researcher Leader at The Natural History Museum (NHM), with research interests in igneous petrology, volcanology and geochemistry. I completed my PhD at the University of Florence (Italy) followed by Post-Docs in Japan (Kyoto University) and at the Carnegie Institution of Washington DC (USA). Then I moved to the University of Cambridge as lab manager and I joined NHM four years ago.

My research focuses on the understanding the dynamics of plumbing systems at active volcanoes with a keen interest on the timescales of pre-eruptive magmatic processes, in order to contribute enhancing volcanic hazard assessments.

I am passionate about Earth Sciences, and I love communicating science to schools and to the public. My ambition is to inspire the next generation of geoscientists and to raise awareness on volcanic and natural hazards. I am committee member of the Volcanic and Magmatic Study group (VMSG), a Geological Society Specialist Group, and of the IAVCEI Commission on Explosive Eruptions.

During my tenure on Council I would like to focus on boosting the Society’s relevance among young geoscientists helping them to shape their future profession, to promote the relevance of Earth Sciences and awareness on natural hazards among the wide public.

Proposer: Hilary Downes

Supporters: Sally Gibson and Andy Fleet


Mr Nicholas Reynolds

;lihI am a Senior Geo-environmental and Geotechnical engineer at a small consultancy in Chester and have been employed at this company for over 17 years.  I have been a Fellow of the Geological Society from being an Undergraduate at Aberystwyth University, graduated with a Master’s degree from Cardiff University, and became a Chartered Geologist in 2009. I later became a Chartered Scientist in 2011.

I was elected the Secretary of the Northwest Regional Group in 2012 and have been responsible for organising the lecture programme, fieldtrips and annual newsletters for the region.  Within the lecture programme, I have brought the Geological Society and the regional Geology Association groups together for annual lectures.  I have developed and introduced a conference for A-level students which was organised in conjunction with Manchester University and ESTA, which involved lecturers from across the region presenting revision lectures on difficult syllabus subjects.

I am very keen to serve on Council to both increase the profile of practicing environmental and geotechnical consultants within the Society.  I am also very keen to improve regional support, and bring the Society to A-Level and Undergraduate students, as well as external organisations who explore the outdoors such as Scouts and Guides.

Proposer: Paul Nathanail

Supporters: Laurance Donnelly and Edward Nield


Mr Toby Strauss

jklI am an economic geologist with over 20 years’ experience in exploration and mining, principally in the junior mining sector. I am today an independent Geological Consultant. I have been a Fellow of the Society since graduating from Trinity College Dublin over 20 years ago, and am also a Chartered Geologist and Euro Geologist. On completion of an MSc in Economic Geology at Rhodes University (1995), I moved to Finland working in mineral exploration for diamonds, gold and base metals. In one of the previous cyclical downturns affecting the mining industry I completed a PhD on a Finnish gold deposit (2003), before returning to industry.

The mining industry is once again in a major cyclical downturn, and again we face the prospect of losing many geoscientists to other industries. Many of these have a wealth of experience that as a profession we can ill afford to lose. I firmly believe that the Geological Society has a principal role, particularly through Chartership and CPD, in facilitating the retention of these skills and their transfer to future generations. As a member of Council I intend to play an active role in delivering practices that help to achieve these aims.

Proposer: Richard Herrington

Supporters: Graham Brown and John Wilton




Mr John Talbot

jilhAs an undergraduate civil engineer in the late 1960s, I had the extreme good fortune to be introduced to and taught geology applied to engineering for all three years of my degree course, by Professors Bill Dearman and Duncan Murchison, who instilled in me a lifelong passion for geology. My first move on graduating was to seek Fellowship of the Society in 1970-71. Since then I have gained an MSc in Geotechnical Engineering in 1981, followed by Chartered Engineer, Geologist, Environmentalist and Scientist. I am also a European Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

My pre-retirement career was generally in civil engineering and specifically in geotechnical engineering, when I provided technical and financial project management and advice to a wide client base; in both the public and private sectors. I had technical expertise in all aspects of site investigations; the analysis, design and provision of advice on shallow and deep foundations, maritime and inland waterfront structures, highways, slope stability and earth dams in the UK, Europe, Africa and SE Asia.

Having been a scrutineer for over 20 years, and a reviewer and auditor for Chartered Geologist applications more recently, I would now like to give back yet more to the profession. Although I am currently Chairman of both the Professional Accreditation Committee on behalf of the Society’s Professional Committee, and a Sub-committee to review our CPD recording system on behalf of the Chartership Committee, I am standing for election in the hope that I could make a greater contribution to the affairs of the Society as a Council member.

Proposer: Alex Carbray

Supporters: Elizabeth Walker and Bill Gaskarth


Dr Alexander Whittaker

hjklhI am a senior lecturer at Imperial College London. My research combines field, remote sensing and numerical modelling approaches to address how tectonics and climate drive landscape evolution over a range of scales. At Imperial I lecture structural geology and tectonics, and I co-ordinate the department’s field programme, leading excursions to the Spanish Pyrenees and the Apennines.

I read Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge between 1998 and 2002, before moving to Edinburgh University to do a PhD in landscape dynamics and neo-tectonics. Following an Entente Cordiale Fellowship at Université Joseph Fourier, France, I moved to Imperial College London.  I was appointed a Lecturer in 2010 and Senior Lecturer in 2014.  I have been a fellow of the Society for seven years and I received the President’s Award in 2009.  I have subsequently served the Society in a range of roles; currently I sit on the research grants and Society awards committees.

The geosciences are central to addressing many of the problems that we and the planet face in the coming years and the Society has a vital role to play in leading these discussions and linking research with both policy and practical applications.  I am passionate about making our membership as diverse as possible and I am keen to promote engagement with the wider public and policy makers who need to know why our discipline matters.

Proposer: Gary Hampson

Supporters: Alastair Fraser and Philip Allen