Professor of Geology
School of Science, St Pauls Street, Auckland
Director, Geoscience Division (formerly SOPAC), Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) (January 2013 to April 2017)
This position involved the strategic leadership and direction of a c. 120 people, a $24M US annual turnover Division of SPC, with responsibilities for geoscience for development, particularly in the areas of: climate change; geohazards and risk reduction; resilience building; sustainable use of natural resources (e.g. geothermal energy, ocean thermal energy, deep sea minerals, aggregates, water, marine environments;) geo-information; GIS & Remote Sensing; and marine and coastal geoscience.
Under my leadership, I strengthened science capacity, and widened service delivery in areas of geoscience related to natural resource development, geohazard and risk management, environmental good practice, adapting to climate change, strengthening resilience, geothermal energy, infrastructure and engineering, and urbanisation.
The Division is the largest of several Divisions that comprise SPC (a 600-person $100M US annual turnover international organisation). SPC has 26 member countries including 22 Small Island Developing States, some of which are part of the Least Developed Countries category. SPC’s mission is to apply science, policy and technology in the fields of fisheries, agriculture & forestry, health, statistics, maritime, health, environment, etc., to improve the lives of Pacific peopled. SPC has a wide stakeholder base and is largely donor-funded (Australia and the EU are the largest donors, with New Zealand and World Bank being the next largest).
The Geoscience Division was an independent body called SOPAC until 2010, and the theme of managing change (of SOPAC into SPC and of SPC evolving itself) was strong within my work portfolio. The merger of SOPAC with SPC was not handled well and issues relating to this merger persisted for many years.
I was part of the Senior Leadership Team of SPC.
All activities within the Geoscience Division address key Pacific development priorities such as poverty alleviation, limited opportunities for economic development, unemployment, geographic isolationism, urbanisation and rural depopulation, climate, environmental and social change, and so forth. As an example work focused on building the resilience of the most vulnerable (e.g. poor, people with disabilities, gender vulnerabilities etc.) for many areas, e.g. the economic shocks that accompany significant natural disasters.
Key achievements for this position include:
Professor, Applied & Environmental Geoscience, University of Leicester, UK
The position focused on: international development; economic and social development; minerals and sustainable development; institutional strengthening; leadership, management and skills development in science; Economic minerals and their relationship with igneous rocks and tectonics; ‘fertility’ of magmas in terms of Cu and Au; evolution of island arcs and arc crust; geochemistry and petrogenesis; physical volcanology and natural hazards & resilience; Applications of geosciences including nuclear waste disposal; active projects in UK, Solomon Islands, Montserrat, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea.
Teaching modules: environmental and contaminant geosciences (4th year); hot topics (4th Year); M.Geol thesis supervision (4th year), Dynamic Earth (1st year), Geology & Society (1st year), field courses (Arran and Ingleton – 1st years).
Director of ACE (Adapting to Changing Environments – a Centre within the Science College).
Headed a British Council funded project for strengthening Higher Education at the universities of Kabul, Peshawar, Charles University, Prague and Leicester.
I supervised five PhD students.
Director, Science Resources, British Geological Survey
Member of Senior Leadership Team co-responsible for running a c. £55M annual turnover, 800-person organization. Key role is directing all staff and physical resources and an annual budget of c. £10M. I was responsible for university collaboration. Similar position to Director, GSFD as stated below.
Director of Change Management, British Geological Survey,
Designing and implementing a series of organisational and structural changes at BGS including development of implementation, inclusion, consultation and communication strategies. I was part of the highest level Executive Leadership team at BGS, responsible for c. £50M spend per year and 800staff.
Director of Geoscience Skills, Facilities and University Collaboration
I was responsible for ensuring that BGS was equipped with an appropriate level of scientific and technological resources to fulfill its mission as one of the premier Geological Survey Organisations in the world.
I was a member of the 7-person Executive Committee of BGS and the BGS Board. Together these committees I managed BGS (which is an 800 person c. £55M annual turnover organization). My key roles involved being part of the highest level collective strategic management of BGS, being the Director responsible for the strategic management of 800 staff, staff training, and all laboratory, IT and publishing infrastructure and BGS-University collaboration.
I was personally responsible for c. £15M annual spend within the BGS.
The role required the demonstration of high-level scientific, managerial leadership and an ability to be aware of key issues across a broad range of geoscience and science. Constant ‘horizon scanning’ was required to assist the BGS in its forward planning of recruitment, staff training and reskilling and scientific infrastructure investment. University collaboration was an essential component of the job with the aim of optimizing scientific synergy between BGS and universities and helping the UK get the most out of its science budget investment.
I was active within the UK and international scientific community and regularly present and published a range of papers and articles, gave public talks, and supervised PhD and MSc students.
Director and Head of the BGS-University Funding Initiative
I led a scientific committee that decided spend on a six monthly basis for projects from Masters to PhD to post doctorate levels for a wide range of UK universities.
Director of Afghanistan Institutional Strengthening Project
I wrote and won a £4M DfiD funded project to strengthen the Afghanistan Geological Survey and Ministry of Mines. This involved working with over 600 people and regenerating a decimated government function. Multi-faceted project that included training, leadership development, building refurbishment, design of laboratories and offices, fieldwork, development of libraray and website, and promotion of Afghan minerals worldwide. 40 UK staff were involved in the project and the project rented a house in Kabul for four years. My role was at the highest levels and involved working with Ministers, senior Civil Servants, advisors to the president, industry, UK diplomats, senior DfiD staff etc. Highly successful in the context of Afghanistan – the most successful Dfid funded project of its time in the country (external review).
Sabbatical Position at the Geological Survey of Western Australia (Perth)
Studying science and management mission, strategy, function and delivery: submitted well-received report recommending some key directional changes..
Programme Manager, Economic Minerals and Geochemical Baseline (EMGB)
Responsible for programme management, scientific and business development for UK and international in the field of economic minerals and the geochemical baseline survey of the environment.
I also had a range of Senior Management responsibilities as part of a c. 35 member senior management team of the British Geological Survey. These responsibilities range from recruitment, training, promotions, appraisals, through to strategic reviews of key areas of science and organization.
The c. £3M annual turnover EMGB programme involved up to 70 scientists and technical staff working on projects funded on a competitive tender basis by organisations such as NERC, UK Government Departments (e.g. Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Trade and Industry, International Development); foreign governments, UK Natural and Built Heritage organisations (e.g. English Nature, CADW, SNH etc.), as well as undertaking commissioned contracts for private industry.
The programme focussed on:
I served on a range of committees on an occasional basis and regularly commented and contributed to national policy documents.
In October 1997 I led a two week geological mapping workshop in Solomon Islands, funded by SOPAC. I also gave three papers at the SOPAC 1997 and 1999 annual session in Fiji. I co-led a workshop on volcanic hazards in Solomon Islands during 1999 and co-led a workshop in Papua New Guinea in 1999 on Geoscience report writing skills. I was involved in Geochemical Survey negotiations with the Moroccan Government, Rabat, 2001. I was regularly involved in international geoscience and mineral meetings and conferences including Indaba (Mining in Africa), Cape Town, PDAC, Toronto, Society for Economic Geologists, Denver, etc. I advised SOPAC (South Pacific Geoscience Commission, Suva, Fiji) on an occasional basis, and the Solomon Islands Government regularly. In 2005 I advised the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands. I was a close adviser to the Government of Afghanistan 2003-2012.
Project Leader of Southern Highlands of Scotland Project
Management responsibility for a variable number of project staff (11 staff had project inputs) and project budget (1998/9 budget beginning at £115,000). Two PhD studentships were active with respective universities. Main aims of the project were to revise geological mapping at 1: 10K scale; (published at 1:50,000 scale) of an area measuring 80 x 60km located between Lochs Lomond and Tay. The area is largely underlain by Middle - Upper Dalradian metamorphic and igneous rocks of Neo-Proterozoic to Lower Palaeozoic age, with a Palaeozoic sedimentary and volcanic cover sequence, and is the most mineralized part of the Scottish Highlands.
Project Specifications for EU Funded BGS Project in Suriname
After discussions in Guyana with representatives of the Surinamese Government I was invited to discuss future business opportunities for BGS in Suriname. Discussions with a number of Suriname Government, UK and EU Embassy, and non - Governmental personnel led to the writing of a report which advised BGS of key project specifications to be included in project tender documents. BGS went on to win the initial c. £180,000 first stage of a several million pound EU funded project designing and setting up a 'Minerals Institute'. BGS have subsequently successfully worked in Suriname on several missions.
Project Adviser to Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) (Seconded to the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation)
This involved an attachment to GGMC advising on geological surveying and possible collaboratory projects between BGS and GGMC. I evaluated the technical and training needs of GGMC, investigating the structure of aid projects which are reasonably successful in Guyana, liaising with possible funding bodies including the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-Operation, and designing and planning project specifications. Although the work had originally been designed to be operational much of my work was at a strategic and planning level, including project design and staff training. I liaised very closely with the mineral industry who had a large presence in Guyana at this time. This work resulted in designing at Commonwealth funded BGS geo-data project..
Senior Geologist with the Solomon Islands Geological Survey (Seconded to UK Overseas Development Administration)
I occupied the position of Senior Geologist/Geochemist to the Ministry of Energy, Water & Mineral Resources of the Solomon Islands Government, (previously known as the Solomon Islands Geological Survey). I had joint or full management responsibility for the Geological Mapping and Geochemistry Section. This Section employed fourteen staff with educational standards varying between postgraduate level and primary school leaver. I had responsibility for planning and directing over 90% of all geological mapping and mineral reconnaissance within Solomon Islands, and had a major input into the overall scientific program.
The main elements of the work program involved:
The end products of this work included:
This work has involved liaising and collaborating with geologists from SOPAC and the Universities of Hawaii, Notre Dame, Leicester, Durham, Texas, Canberra, Macquarie, Armidale, Western Australia, and the South Pacific on the subjects of the geology and geochemistry of ocean plateaus and island arcs. I was partly instrumental in setting up and supporting a series of PhD and related research projects within Solomon Islands. I regularly review papers which relate to the SW Pacific.
I advised Government on geological, energy, mineral development and environmental matters, and responded to specific work requests of Government.
I was the main training coordinator for staff, and organised several training courses which involved field and work/study placements to Fiji, Hawaii, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and importing staff from other organisations in other countries to come and teach specific courses in Solomon Islands, (e.g. an ODA fully funded three week duration BGS course in photogeology).
Geologist for the 'Home Survey' of the British Geological Survey
For this five year duration I was a member of the multidisciplinary English Lake District Geological Survey which involved: geological mapping; geophysical surveys; petrological studies; and mineral reconnaissance of the Palaeozoic volcanic and metamorphic basement of NW England. I was mainly involved in making detailed 1:10 000 scale maps of a 6-8km thick sequence of subaerial caldera forming volcanic rocks : the Ordovician Borrowdale Volcanic Group. This multidisciplinary study involved the study of the eruptive and depositional environment of the volcanic rocks and interpreting their geochemistry in terms of petrogenetic processes. This work has been and is still being published in the form of geological maps, memoirs, and external publications.
From August 1990 much of our work was commissioned by UK NIREX who were exploring the possibility of using the Borrowdale Volcanic Group as host to a deep underground repository for nuclear waste. This work involved working with a specially convened multidisciplinary research team involving geologists, geophysicists, environmentalists, hydrogeologists, nuclear scientists, engineers, and others. I was particularly involved in advising NIREX during the early part of their drilling program, which involved drilling high quality boreholes to a depth of 2km, logging and interpreting the core extracted from these boreholes, and advising NIREX on the geological and structural environment of the proposed repository site region. Many thematic reports and maps resulted from this work, and many are still being produced.
Part time tutor in Geology for the Open University of the UK
This work involved teaching students of widely differing ages and backgrounds both face to face in a classroom situation and by distance tuition. I was responsible for marking and assessment of assignments from a number of different level courses from Foundation Level to the highest undergraduate Third Level Courses. I also tutored at summer schools, led numerous field trips, and participated in workshops dealing with teaching skills within a distance learning environment. During this period I also lectured on a part time basis with the University of Durham, UK.
Secondary School Teacher
After qualifying as a professional teacher at Keele University where I studied for my teaching certificate during 1984 and 1985 I became a teacher of geography, geology and science at Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham, Northumberland, UK. This involved teaching children of all abilities between the ages of 13 and 19 years old. I was also a 6th Form and Third Form tutor.
Research student at Leicester University, UK
My PhD, entitled 'The structure, petrology, and geochemistry of the Kohistan Batholith, Gilgit, Kashmir, North Pakistan', was successfully completed and written up within three years. The university supervisers were Professors Brian Windley and John Tarney and the external and internal examiners were Professors Geoff Brown, (deceased), and Andy Saunders respectively.
The project involved 6 months fieldwork, which included mapping, structural studies, and sample collecting over an area of some 2500 km of previously unknown or very poorly known geology.
Laboratory work involved major and trace element XRF analyses, ICP spectrometer REE analyses, Strontium isotope analyses, and petrographic study of up to 325 samples of a full calc alkaline igneous spectrum of compositions from hornblendite cumulates to leucogranites.
This work formed part of a major multidisciplinary study of the Cretaceous-Oligocene Arc-batholith terrain of Kohistan, which was trapped between the Eurasian and Indian plates during the Himalayan Orogeny. Much of my work has been published externally and is regularly cited, and I have been involved in several Himalayan Workshops, and subsequent fieldwork in Pakistan and India in 1989 1993, and 1997, the latter two funded by the Royal Society. I was a guest lecturer at the University of Peshawar in Pakistan during October 1991. I have had inputs into a number of PhD and postdoctoral project related to work in North Pakistan. I regularly review papers in this area.
This involved mapping, at 1: 10 000 scale an area of 20km2 situated within the classic Caledonian Moine Thrust Belt of NW Scotland, including Archaean basement. My area was centered on Ledmore in Sutherland. This work involved three months fieldwork.
Developing a Geoscience Major at AUT. Papers include: ‘Our Dynamic Earth’, ‘Geology, Landscape & Environment’, ‘Structural Geology & Tectonics’, ‘Sedimentary Geoscience’, ‘Volcanology’. I have also taught on papers relating to sustainable development, geography and a PG paper on Global Change Biology.
Geology, geological mapping, island arcs, Kohistan-Ladakh island arc, Ontong Java Plateau, Geotectonics of SW Pacific, Geoscience and Development, International Development, Leadership in Geoscience Organisations, Environmental Geoscience, Economic Geology, Geology and Society
I have had an eclectic career history, only some of which has been in academia. Most of my research has been in the application of geoscience to development. Examples of this include: underground storage for nuclear waste, institutional strengthening of the Afghanistan Geological Survey, geological mapping for the development of Pacific Islands, disaster and risk geoscience, geoscience for economic and infrastructure development. Core scientific research has focused on island arc geology in NW England, NW Himalayas/Karakoram, Solomon Islands, the Caribbean and the SW Pacific. I have also researched into the composition, field structure and origin of the Ontong Java Plateau. More recently I have researched into issues related to the development of seabed minerals in the Pacific region.
I have contributed to the following maps published by the British Geological Survey. These maps are stored at the BGS headquarters in Keyworth Nottingham and/or Edinburgh.
Whole Division is funded through donor programmes. Under my tenure-ship annual income rose from $14-24 Million US.
Examples of Programmes:
Research grants and contracts, projects and partnerships
One year extension to my two year contract with the Solomon Islands Geological Survey, (SIGS). Approximate value to BGS: one man year at SSO rate plus overheads and management fees, (c. £50 000). Project negotiations successfully completed in June 1994. Project funding by the UKODA.
Work attachment of myself plus one SIGS Officer to SOPAC, Fiji for one week, (May 1995). Project negotiations completed December 1994. Approximate level of funding obtained: £2000. Funding from UKODA and SOPAC, Fiji.
Four day technical visit to ORSTOM, Port Vila, Vanuatu, by myself plus two SIGS officers to take place in September 1995. Project negotiations completed February 1995. Costing level approved approx. £1000. Funding from UKODA.
Two week technical visit to the Hawaii Institute of Geophysics by myself and two SIGS officers to take place in September-October 1995. Funding negotiations completed by December 1994. UKODA to fund the visit. Approximate costs: £5000.
Six week work attachment by one Solomon Islands officer to the Australian National University in Canberra to commence in January 1996. Negotiations completed in September 1994. Funding Source: the Australian National University. Approximate cost: £2000-£3000.
Winning of a four year duration BSc scholarship in geology at the University of Papua New Guinea for one SIGS officer. Negotiations completed, February 1995. Funding sources: Solomon Islands Government and Australian Aid. Approximate costs: at least £10 000.
Winning of funding for a three week long remote sensing course in Honiara to be given by BGS. Negotiations took place between November 1994 and May 1995. The course will be held during August/September 1995. Funding source: UKODA. Approximate costs: £16 000.
Supplementary and final training budget payment made to the SIGS by UKODA of £18 000. Negotiations between November 1994 and June 1995. This money will be spent on training related activities during 1995/1996.
Production of Volcanic hazard map and report of Savo volcano, Solomon Islands. Project submitted to UKODA through the United Nations department of Humanitarian Affairs, (UNDHA). Has the support of UNDHA, (Pacific), and the Solomon Islands National Disaster Council. Total costs: £30 000. Submitted January 1996.
Project Design of IT support project to Guyana Geology and Mines Commission. Project funded by Commonwealth Fund For Technical Development. Project runs from February 1997 - June 1998. Total project value £98,000 with the possibility of extending the project for a similar amount of money.
Assisted in winning EU funded institutional strengthening project for the Suriname Minerals Institute. Initial project worth £200,000 (project duration: September - December 1999: up to £3 million project.
Leader of short Geological mapping workshop for Solomon Islands Mines and Minerals Division. £3,000 funded by SOPAC. October 1997.
Workshop on Volcanic Hazards. Honiara, Solomon Islands, May 1999. Funded by SOPAC with money donated by AusAid. Value c. £ 12,000.
Won a PhD 3-year scholarship from the UK Natural Environment Council, because I gained a 1st class BSc degree.