Skip to content

Global Environmental Research Committee

Morning view over Loch Duich
Morning view over Loch Duich ©ColobusYeti


Research is critical for understanding the environment, the impacts of human activity and for assessing possible solutions.

The Royal Society’s Global Environmental Research Committee, known as GERC, plays a crucial role in promoting UK participation in global environmental research programmes and committees, and acts as an advisory body on environmental science to the Royal Society. It also provides valuable advice to UKRI and the research councils on emerging science that should receive increased attention and funding. GERC facilitates discussion on the major environmental issues of our time, linking with international research activity and informing the Royal Society’s policy work.

GERC’s science reviews

One way GERC carries out its work is by undertaking a rolling series of reviews of areas of science within its remit.

Subject areas covered recently include:

Upcoming publications include:

  • Astrobiology and the environmental sciences

Subject areas planned for the future include:

  • Risks to the future of forests

International programmes

GERC maintains the Royal Society’s connections (through a co-opted representative) to a number of international programmes including:

  • Future Earth: GERC provides Royal Society representation on the UK Future Earth Committee
  • The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR)
  • The Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) for which the Challenger Society is the affiliated body
  • The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP)
  • The International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG

GERC membership

Membership of GERC is drawn from the science community, including Fellows of the Royal Society.

Current members of GERC are:

  • Professor Peter Smith FRS, University of Aberdeen (Chair of GERC)
  • Professor Karen Heywood FRS, University of East Anglia
  • Professor John Croxall FRS, BirdLife International
  • Dr Maria Dornelas, University of St Andrews
  • Professor Roy Harrison FRS, University of Birmingham
  • Professor Louise Heathwaite, Lancaster University
  • Professor Gabi Hegerl FRS, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Tim Newbold, University College London
  • Professor Martin Solan, University of Southampton
  • Dr Marco Sacchi, University of Surrey (representing UK Future Earth)
  • Professor Mike Bentley, Durham University (representing UK SCAR)
  • Dr Pierre Friedlingstein, University of Exeter (representing WCRP)
  • Professor Kate Heal, University of Edinburgh (representing IUGG)
  • Professor Alessandro Tagliabue, University of Liverpool (representing SCOR)
  • Dr Sarah Webb, Natural Environmental Research Council (representing NERC)

View GERC's latest blog posts

Was this page useful?
Thank you for your feedback
Thank you for your feedback. Please help us improve this page by taking our short survey.