The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum is responsible for the whole of the Science Museum Group (SMG).
The Trustees, who may number between 12 and 20, are appointed by and responsible to the Prime Minister through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The Director of the Science Museum Group, as Chief Executive Officer, is responsible to the Board of Trustees; and, as Accounting Officer, is accountable to DCMS.
Within the framework of their statutory duties as stated under the National Heritage Act 1983, the role of the Trustees is to establish group policy, review performance and endorse appointments to key management positions.
Their primary activity is to assist the SMG Chair in meeting the board’s overall responsibilities, in accordance with the policies of the Secretary of State, and in compliance with charity law. The Board of Trustees also offers guidance and expertise on setting and implementing the strategy for the Group.
The Chair of the Board of Trustees
Sir Tim Laurence has pursued a portfolio career centred around Built Heritage, Major Projects, Railways and Urban Regeneration since leaving the Royal Navy in 2010. He chaired English Heritage (2015–22), with over 400 historic sites and 40 small museums. Other chairmanships included the Major Projects Association and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the latter on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence. He was a Trustee and Deputy Chair of RNLI.
Current roles include: Patron of the Windsor Leadership Trust; Patron of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway; member of the Great Western Railway Advisory Board; and Senior Advisor to the engineering consultancy Tetratech Europe. He contributes to a number of other charities.
Tim's 37 years of Naval service included four warship commands and a series of senior roles in the Ministry of Defence, culminating in CEO of the organisation which manages MOD's property and infrastructure worldwide.
He graduated from University College Durham in 1976 with a BSc in Geography, with Geology and Climatology, and was a Hudson Fellow at St Antony’s College Oxford (1998/99).
Members of the Board of Trustees
Stephen Belcher became Met Office Chief Scientist in December 2016 having formerly been the Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre for climate science and services, and Professor of Meteorology at the University of Reading.
As the Chief Scientist, Stephen directs the Met Office Science Programme and is responsible for a team of over 500 scientists. Met Office science covers a wide range of research including numerical weather prediction, observations of the atmosphere and the oceans, climate change projections and scientific software engineering.
Since obtaining his PhD in fluid dynamics from the University of Cambridge in 1990, Stephen has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers on a wide variety of topics in atmospheric and oceanic turbulence. Having completed his PhD he became a research fellow at Stanford and Cambridge Universities. In 1994 he moved to the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, where he served as Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences between 2007 and 2010. In 2010 he became the Joint Met Office Chair in Weather Systems.
James Bilefield serves on a range of public, private and not-for-profit boards across the technology, business services and charitable sectors. He is also an advisor to the UK Cabinet Office, McKinsey & Company and SystemIQ, and has chaired the Digital Advisory Board of the Science Museum Group since 2015, James was previously a serial digital entrepreneur and chief digital officer following a successful investment banking career at JP Morgan Chase.
Brian Cantor is Professor of Materials at Oxford and Brunel Universities. He is also a Trustee of the Science Museums Group and a co-Director of the UKRI Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Circular Metals, and a Chief Editor of the Springer-Nature journal High Entropy Alloys and Materials. He has published over 300 books and papers. He invented the field of High Entropy Alloys and discovered the so-called “Cantor alloys”.
In the past, he has been Vice-Chancellor of the Universities of Bradford and York, Head of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at Oxford, a research scientist at GE Labs in the USA, a consultant for Alcan, NASA and Rolls-Royce, and a Vice-President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. He has worked at other universities such as Sussex, Northeastern, Banaras, Washington State and IISc Bangalore, and chaired or been on boards such as the Marshall Aid Commission, UK Universities Pensions Forum, and Bradford, Leeds and York Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs). He founded and built up the Begbroke Science Park, the Heslington East Campus, the Hull-York Medical School, the National Science Learning Centre, and the World Technology Universities Network.
He has received academic prizes, honorary professorships and fellowships in the UK, USA, China and India. He was awarded a CBE for services to higher education in 2013.
Judith Donovan is a Yorkshire businesswoman, who started her own direct marketing agency in Bradford some time ago.
During her 20 years at the helm of a rapidly growing business she also chaired the Training and Enterprise Council and was the first female president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce after 167 years!
Judith is a trustee of the National Army Museum as well as the chair of its trading subsidiary.
She is also chair of the Employment Advisory Board for the two Yorkshire women’s’ prisons as well as chair of Ripon Cathedral Council. Previously she has been a Millennium Commissioner, a Health and Safety Commissioner, vice chair Postwatch, board member British Wool and Yorkshire Dales National Park, and chair of the Yorkshire Tourist Board
She holds CCMI; FIOD; FRSA; FCIM; FIDM; FCAM and honorary degrees from Hull and Leeds Beckett Universities.
Tim Dugher is currently a non-executive shareholder Director at Porterbrook Leasing. He has worked in the rail industry for 45 years, starting as an engineering apprentice, progressing through a number of managerial roles throughout the uk to his last full-time position as Chief Operating Officer at Angel Trains Limited. In 2011 he made the transition to nonexecutive life becoming a Director at a number of uk entities including Rail Safety and Standards Board, Vossloh Kiepe uk, and Network Certification Body where he was Chairman until 2020. He also manages his own management consultancy company and has served in an advisory capacity to other companies.
Tim is a Chartered Engineer, having graduated from Aston University, and is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and former Chairman of it’s Railway Division Board. His other voluntary activities include being an active committee member of the local Institution of Mechanical Engineers Railway Division branch which exists to promote knowledge of engineering developments, as well as a local Parish Councillor.
Peter, Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill, has been Chair of Network Rail since July 2015 and Chair of London Legacy Development Corporation since 2017.
He started his transport career in 1975 as a London Transport graduate trainee.
Anya Hurlbert is Professor of Visual Neuroscience and Dean of Advancement at Newcastle University. She co-founded Newcastle’s Institute of Neuroscience in 2003, serving as its co-Director until 2014, and now steers the Centre for Transformative Neuroscience. She was a Marshall Scholar and holds degrees in physics, physiology, brain and cognitive science, and medicine from US and UK institutions.
Anya’s research interests are focussed on the understanding of human vision, especially colour perception and its role in cognition and behaviour; her work includes applications in imaging, lighting, visual art, and human health. She received the Newton Medal (the Colour Group GB; 2022). Named lectures include the Edridge-Green Lecture (the Royal College of Ophthalmologists) and the Richard Gregory Memorial Lecture (Bristol Vision Institute), amongst others.
Anya speaks and writes widely on colour perception and art and has devised several science-based art exhibitions, including an interactive installation at the National Gallery, London. Anya serves on the Scientific Consultative Group of the National Gallery, where she was recently Scientific Trustee, is Associate Editor of the Journal of Vision and on the editorial board of Current Biology, the Board of Directors of the Vision Sciences Society, and the Rank Prize Optoelectronics Committee.
Ajit Lalvani is the Director of the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Respiratory Infections and Director of the Tuberculosis Research Centre at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London.
He is also Honorary Consultant Physician at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Visiting Professor of Infectious Diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at University of Oxford. His research programme focuses on translating scientific discoveries into innovative practical solutions to protect the health of the public through better screening, diagnosis and prevention of major infectious diseases, including flu and TB.
He is a non-executive director of Vitabiotics Ltd and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Bromley-by-Bow Centre where he supports the charity’s mission to improve social determinants of health and tackle health inequalities.
Iain McIntosh served as Chief Financial Officer for the educational IT services group, RM plc, from 2009 to 2015. Prior to this, he was Chief Financial Officer at the Axon Group plc and has held senior finance roles with a number of international organisations.
The Rt Hon the Baroness Morgan of Cotes (Nicky Morgan) is a former Conservative Minister having served in the Cabinets of David Cameron and Boris Johnson as, respectively, Minister for Women & Equalities, Education Secretary and Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary. She also chaired the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee for two years. She was the Member of Parliament for Loughborough between 2010 and 2019. She has also served as Financial Secretary, Economic Secretary, a Government Whip and PPS to the Universities Minister.
Before being elected she worked as a solicitor specialising in M&A. Nicky is a founding director of a mental health social enterprise in Leicestershire. She is now a member of the House of Lords and has a portfolio career with roles across the private and public sectors, including as a Non-Executive Director at Santander UK, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, the Great Central Railway plc and the Careers & Enterprise Company. Nicky also chairs the Advisory Board of the Reform think tank.
Washington Ochieng is Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chair in Positioning and Navigation Systems, Senior Security Science Fellow and Interim Director of the Institute for Security Science and Technology at Imperial College London. He is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Royal Institute of Navigation, Institution of Highways and Transportation and Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering. Professor Ochieng is Vice President and Trustee of the Royal Institute of Navigation. He chairs the Africa Engineers Steering Committee of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Lopa Patel is the founder of two ventures in online media and a data-driven marketing consultancy. She is also the Chair of equality and inclusion charity, Diversity UK and a Non-Executive Director of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
Lopa is an elected Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and a Fellow of the Institute of Data & Marketing (IDM). She is an ambassador for entrepreneurship, innovation and technology and has been recognised with many accolades including an MBE for services to the creative industries in 2009; the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2015 and an Honorary Doctorate by The Open University in 2017, in recognition of her efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in STEM.
Gregory Radick is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds. Educated at Rutgers University in New Jersey (where he was born and raised) and then at Cambridge University, he has published widely in the history of the life and human sciences since 1800.
His book The Simian Tongue: The Long Debate about Animal Language (Chicago, 2007) was awarded the 2010 Suzanne J. Levinson Prize of the History of Science Society for best book in the history of the life sciences and natural history. His other books include Disputed Inheritance: The Battle over Mendel and the Future of Biology (Chicago, 2023) and, as co-editor, The Cambridge Companion to Darwin (Cambridge, 2003; 2nd edition, 2009).
He has held fellowships from the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust and served as President of the British Society for the History of Science (2014-16) and the International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (2019-21).
He writes and lectures frequently for general audiences, and has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time and in the PBS/National Geographic television series Genius with Stephen Hawking.
Sarah Sands is a former editor of the Sunday Telegraph and The Evening Standard and a former editor of Radio 4’s Today programme. She is co-chair of the committee of the Braemar Science Summit.
Sarah Staniforth is President Emeritus of IIC (International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works) following six years as President from 2013-2019.
She is a Trustee of Blenheim Palace Heritage Foundation and Holst Birthplace Trust and a member of Historic England Historic Estates Conservation Committee, the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust Conservation Review Committee and Gloucester Diocesan Advisory Committee.
Sarah is also a Professor in Practice in the Archaeology Department Durham University, a Director of the Landmark Trust Lundy Company and the Historic House Hotels of the National Trust. She is a Fellow of IIC, the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Society of Arts.
Sarah held a number of roles at the National Trust between 1985 and 2014 including Museums and Collections Director, Historic Properties Director and Head Conservator. Before that she worked in the Scientific Department of the National Gallery for five years.
Sarah was educated at Oxford University where she read Chemistry, and the Courtauld Institute of Art, London where she received a Diploma in Easel Paintings Conservation.
Steven Underwood is the Chief Executive of the Peel Group, one of the UK’s largest privately owned real estate, transport and infrastructure investors.
Before joining Peel as Corporate Development Director in 2007, Steven spent eight years in Investment Banking with Rothschild and prior to that qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand.
He represents the Peel Group on the Boards of a number of its investee companies, including Peel Ports Group, PLP, MediaCity and Liverpool Airport. He has executive responsibility for Peel L&P, Peel’s direct property investment and regeneration business. Steven is also a Non-Executive Director of Harworth Group PLC. Steven represents Peel on the Policy Committee of the British Property Federation. In a personal capacity he is also a Non-Executive Director of Harworth Group PLC.
Board of Trustees Meetings
Download minutes from Board of Trustees meetings