Imperial College London

Imperial professor takes over prestigious Royal Society Foreign Secretary role

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Picture of Imperial's Professor Robin Grimes in November 2009

An Imperial College London professor has been chosen as the new Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society this week.

Professor Robin Grimes, of Imperial’s Department of Materials, will meet virtually with science academy partners from across Europe in his new role to discuss shared challenges, such as pandemic threats and climate change. 

He is representing the Society at this week’s council meeting of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), where experts will discuss the evolving COVID-19 situation and commitments to climate action made at COP26. 

The Society will look to address how European researchers can work together to manage these challenges and maintain close links across the continent. 

Professor Grimes, who is Imperial’s Steele Chair of Energy Materials, has previously worked as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

"Science for the benefit of everyone"

Speaking before the EASAC meeting this week, Professor Grimes said: “It is a privilege to be elected Foreign Secretary and I look forward to meeting with my colleagues from across the European science community on the issues that will shape research, and society at large, over the coming decades. 

“With the negotiations on Horizon Europe yet to deliver the certainty that the scientific community is calling for, these meetings are a chance to reaffirm the bonds between EU and UK researchers which have benefited research right across our continent.” 

He continued: “The Royal Society’s focus is on science that works for the benefit of everyone, and the events of the last two years have shown, undeniably, that we must work internationally to deliver that goal.  

“That is as true in my field, developing the energy systems to move us to a net-zero carbon future, as it is in tackling biodiversity decline or using data to address future health emergencies.” 

"These meetings are a chance to reaffirm the bonds between EU and UK researchers which have benefited research right across our continent." Professor Robin Grimes Steele Chair in Energy Materials at Imperial College London

Professor Grimes also paid tribute to his predecessor, Professor Sir Richard Catlow, who he described as a “champion of the UK’s place at the heart of science in Europe.” 

The Society said that Professor Grimes was taking on the role, which dates back to 1723, at a time when supporting scientific collaboration and maintaining close links with European researchers was of paramount importance. 

The Imperial expert’s research is primarily focused on the application and development of computer simulation techniques to predict structural and dynamic properties of ceramics and metals. 

He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

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Conrad Duncan

Conrad Duncan
Communications Division

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Europe, Engineering-Materials, International, Comms-strategy-International-university, Materials, Global-challenges-Engineering
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