Sir Keith O’Nions held the position of President & Rector of Imperial College London until 31st August 2014.
After joining the College in July 2008 to set up and direct a new Institute for Security Science and Technology, Sir Keith took up the post of Rector in January 2010. In line with the transition towards a new leadership model, from 30 April 2012 Sir Keith assumed the title of President & Rector.
Sir Keith holds an undergraduate degree in geology from the University of Nottingham and a PhD in earth sciences from the University of Alberta, Canada. 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 held the position of Chief Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence between January 2000 and July 2004. He then 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 been the chairman, or a member, of a number of government and Research Council committees over the last 35 years, including a member of the Council of Science and Technology from 1998 to 2000, and 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 a Fellow of the Royal Society (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 holds Honorary Degrees from eleven universities.
He was knighted for services to earth sciences in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours.