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New Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society calls for ever stronger UK participation in European research

30 November 2021

Professor Robin Grimes

Professor Robin Grimes has taken over the role of Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society and will meet virtually with science academy partners from across Europe to discuss critical common challenges.

Later this week, he will represent the Society at the council meeting of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), 2-3 December. Discussions will cover the evolving COVID-19 situation and commitments made at COP26, and how European researchers can work together to address them.

Professor Grimes is a former Chief Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Steele Chair of Energy Materials at Imperial College London. 

He heads up the Society’s international work at a time when supporting scientific collaboration and maintaining the closest possible links with European researchers is of paramount importance to the Royal Society, and to UK science as a whole.

Speaking ahead of the EASAC meeting Professor Grimes said: "It is a privilege to be elected Foreign Secretary and I look forward to meeting with my colleagues from across the European science community on the issues that will shape research, and society at large, over the coming decades. 

"With the negotiations on Horizon Europe yet to deliver the certainty that the scientific community is calling for, these meetings are a chance to reaffirm the bonds between EU and UK researchers which have benefited research right across our continent. 

"The Royal Society’s focus is on science that works for the benefit of everyone, and the events of the last two years have shown, undeniably, that we must work internationally to deliver that goal. That is as true in my field, developing the energy systems to move us to a net-zero carbon future, as it is in tackling biodiversity decline or using data to address future health emergencies. 

"My predecessor Richard Catlow has been a champion of the UK’s place at the heart of science in Europe, and I will endeavour to build on his work, and the wealth of expertise across the Fellowship, throughout this exciting chapter for the Society and UK science."

Professor Grimes' research uses computer simulation techniques to predict the behaviour of materials for energy applications including nuclear fission and fusion, fuel cells, batteries and solar cells. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

He takes over from Professor Sir Richard Catlow, whose five-year term ended on the Royal Society’s Anniversary Day (30 November). 

The post of Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society dates back to 1723.

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