July 5, 2012
Since 2010 Sir Keith O’Nions has served as Rector of Imperial College London, after joining the College in July 2008 to set up and direct a new Institute for Security Science and Technology.
Sir Keith O’Nions holds an undergraduate degree in geology from the University of Nottingham and a PhD in earth sciences from the University of Alberta. After completing his PhD he took up a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oslo before moving to the University of Oxford in 1971 as a Demonstrator and then Lecturer in geochemistry. He subsequently became Professor of Geology at Columbia University in 1975, Royal Society Research Professor at Cambridge in 1979 and Head of Earth Sciences at Oxford in 1995.
Sir Keith O’Nions held the position of Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence between January 2000 and July 2004 and moved to the Department of Trade and Industry, later known as the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, to become Director General, Science and Innovation, and Chief Scientific Advisor. He has served as chairman, or member, of a number of Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK) committees over the last 25 years, including a member of the Council of Science and Technology from 1998 to 2000. He was Trustee and then Chairman of the Natural History Museum from 1996 to 2005.
He became a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 1979 and a Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 1980. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society (UK) (1983), Honorary Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (1998), Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (2001), and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (2005).
Sir Keith O’Nions was knighted for services to earth sciences in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours.