Jane Francis is a geologist by training, with research interests in understanding past climate change. She has undertaken research projects at the universities of Southampton, London, Leeds and Adelaide, using fossil plants to determine the change from greenhouse to icehouse climates in the polar regions over the past 100 million years. She has undertaken over 15 scientific expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctica in search of fossil forests.
Jane is Director of the British Antarctic Survey, a research centre of the Natural Environment Research Council (UKRI-NERC). She is involved with international polar organisations, such as the Antarctic Treaty and European Polar Board, and on several advisory boards of national polar programmes.
Jane was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (DCMG) in recognition of services to UK polar science and diplomacy. She was also awarded the Polar Medal by H.M The Queen, and in 2018 became Chancellor of the University of Leeds.