Dr. Wilson will take up his duties on 1 April 2012. The President of ICSU, Professor Yuan-Tseh Lee has expressed happiness on Dr. Wilson’s acceptance of the post. Prof. Lee said: ‘It is a pleasure to welcome Dr. Wilson as the new Executive Director. His experience as the interim Chief Executive and a Director at the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which has been a supporter and partner of ICSU, means that he will bring the perspective and dynamism of a Research Council leader to us. His close involvement with a number of international research programs over the years will help him in his new role.’
Dr. Wilson is a co-chair of the Belmont Forum, an international partnership of major environmental research funders, which is now working closely with ICSU in the development of the new co-designed initiative, ‘Future Earth: Research for Global Sustainability’.
Following a degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford, Dr. Wilson graduated from the University of Bristol in 1995 with a PhD in Chemistry. After working for the UK Meteorological Office, he joined NERC in 1998, and has held positions which include Director of Earth Observation, Director of Science and Innovation, and Director of Strategy and Partnerships.
Expressing his eagerness on the exciting and challenging position of Executive Director, Dr Wilson said: ‘I am very excited at the prospect of leading ICSU, as it continues to be one of the world’s foremost organizations for science. I look forward to bringing scientists together from all parts of the world, and helping to mobilize the international scientific community to provide new knowledge to tackle the grand societal challenges of the day – be they concerning environmental change, food security or human health.’
Dr. Wilson succeeds Professor Deliang Chen, who will return to the University of Gothenburg in Sweden after three years at the helm.
Prof. Lee expressed his appreciation of Professor Chen: ‘For the past three years, Professor Chen has worked with extraordinary dedication, and made a tremendous contribution to the rejuvenation of ICSU. It was during his tenure that several major initiatives got off the ground, including Future Earth and ICSU’s key role at Rio+20. Largely due to efforts of Professor Chen, the international visibility of ICSU has increased. However, Chen will continue to work with ICSU as a concerned scientist.
Dr. Carthage Smith, the Deputy Executive Director of ICSU, will be the acting interim executive director during February-March 2012.