Natural History Museums Scientific Trustee

Body: Natural History Museum
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sector: Culture, Media & Sport
Location: Board meetings normally take place at the main site in South Kensington, London. In recent years the May Board meeting has been held at another UK location and the Annual Trustees’ Strategy Day is usually held in London but remote from the Museum.
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: No
Time Requirements: There are four regular Board meetings per year and one strategy day. Occasionally extraordinary meetings are convened to consider urgent issues or decisions. In addition Trustees will sit on other committees as necessary as well as attend events at the Museum, other representational engagements, and, where possible or desirable take part in recruitment for senior management positions. Trustees will need to allocate additional time to study papers. The total time varies, but, on average, it will be one day per month.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

This campaign has been closed, without an appointment being made, and will be re-launched later in the year.

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    17/04/2019 at 10:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Trustees of the Museum have statutory duties under the British Museum Act 1963 and the Museums and Galleries Act 1992 for the general management and control of the Museum and for the appointment of the Director. Within the framework of these statutory duties, the role of the Trustees is primarily to establish Museum policy, review performance and endorse appointments to key management positions.

Trustees participate in the Board’s decision making processes including preparation for and attendance at all meetings of the Board and of any Board committees or other Museum structures to which they are appointed.

A Trustee should have a commitment to the objectives of the Museum, uphold Museum policies and act as an advocate for the Museum, including assistance with activities to generate funding from the corporate sector, trusts and foundations and other philanthropists.

Trustees are expected to understand and uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life as defined by the Nolan Committee. Those principles are: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. In accordance with this commitment, Trustees must declare any pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests upon appointment and whenever a matter or decision arises in which the Trustee has an interest which might be perceived to prejudice their views or comments or to be in conflict with the interests of the Museum.


Person Specification


The Board includes scientifically qualified Trustees to oversee the Museum’s programme of scientific work and investment in scientific facilities. The new appointee is to replace Professor Christopher Gilligan. The appointed Trustee will have direct experience of research in an area within the Museum’s science strategy and of management responsibilities in a significant scientific organisation.

All Trustees need to demonstrate:

  • A knowledge of and commitment to the Natural History Museum and support of the purpose and values of the Museum;
  • Proven ability to take responsibility and demonstrate sound judgement in strategic decision-making and so contribute to the Museum’s future policy and strategic development;
  • A commitment to diversity in the Museum’s governance, workforce and public offer;
  • A commitment to actively support the Museum’s fundraising campaigns;
  • Excellent representational and communications skills;
  • Achievement in the private, public or voluntary sector;
  • Experience in the management of financial risk within an organisation;
  • A clear understanding of the principles of corporate governance and the role of Museum Trustees.


Additional Information


The Natural History Museum’s purpose is to challenge the way people think about the natural world, its past, present and future.

The NHM is the guardian of one of the world’s most important natural history collections. Through our own unrivalled expertise and by opening up access and participation for all, we are unlocking answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet:

  • The origins of our planet and life on it, and the impact of change;
  • The diversity of life and the delicate balance of ecosystems that ensure the survival of our planet;
  • The security of our food supply, the eradication of disease and the management of mineral and ore scarcity.


The Natural History Museum is internationally recognised for its dual role as a centre of scientific excellence and as a leading visitor attraction, presenting natural history to the general public through exhibitions, a programme of public events and a presence online and on social media. Its principal purposes are to discover and make available to the scientific community the information contained within its collections of natural history specimens and to entertain, interest and educate people of all ages in natural history.

The Museum is entering an exciting new phase in its development. There is an imperative to improve the conditions for storage of collections and plans to realise this by moving some collections to an offsite location, preferably with a strategic science partner. Also new digital, analytical and genomic technologies are emerging which both increase the potential user base of the collections and enable greater information to be derived from even the oldest specimens. These changes are facilitating exciting new research opportunities. Finally, a vibrant programme of temporary exhibitions will complement a planned refit of major galleries, and plans are in place to redevelop the Museum’s gardens, creating outdoor galleries and new outdoor learning activities for young people.

The Natural History Museum is both a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), funded in part by Grant-in-Aid from the British Government provided through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and an exempt charity. Approximately half of its expenditure is derived from sources of self-generated income, including bodies awarding grants for scientific research.


Trustees are normally expected to serve at some point during their period of office on one of the Board’s standing committees – Audit and Risk, Nominations or Remuneration – or on a time limited or advisory committee. Scientific trustees sit on the Science Advisory Committee which provides quality assurance of the Museum’s scientific outputs. Trustees are also expected to attend Museum events and assist in the raising of funds to support the capital development programme and mission related activities.


The Museum is governed by a Board of twelve Trustees:

  • Eight appointed by the Prime Minister
  • One appointed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, upon nomination by the President of the Royal Society
  • Three chosen by the Board of Trustees themselves (co-opted).


This role is a Prime Ministerial appointment.


The term of appointment is for 4 years. In exceptional circumstances the Prime Minister may reappoint a Trustee for a second term.


Trustees give their services on an honorary basis and receive no remuneration, except for expenses reasonably incurred in performance of their duties.


Further information on how to apply can be obtained from:

Christabel Austen – Public Appointments Campaign Manager, Department for Culture, Media and Sport  email:

Further information on the roles can be obtained from:

Frances Allen – Secretary to the Board of Trustees The Natural History Museum  email:

Our aim is to represent UK’s cultural diversity in everything we do. The Natural History Museum strives to serve the interests of all communities equally, regardless of their religion, race, sex, age, disability or sexuality.

This process is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ (OCPA‘s) Code of Practice. Applicants are expected to have adhered to the Seven Principles of Public Life.  


How to Apply

To apply, please send:

  • a CV of no more than two sides of A4;
  • a supporting statement of not more than two sides of A4, setting out how you meet the criteria (NB: make sure you refer to the contents of this document);
  • the two Monitoring Forms concerning your personal information and political activity, and the Declaration of Interests Form.


Completed applications should be emailed to: – please put Natural History Museum in the “subject” line to arrive no later than:  Wednesday 17 April 2019 at 10am. Please note that applications after this time will not be considered.

Alternatively, if this is not possible, please post a hard copy to Christabel Austen, Public Appointments Team, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, 100 Parliament Street, London SW1A 2BQ.


Ministerial Message (1)
OCPA-July-2018-Monitoring-Form- FINAL (1)
Conflicts of Interest Form 2018
COI Guidance - Charitable Museums and Galleries
OCPA Complaints Procedure (2016)
Privacy Notice- Public Appointments 2018 - applicants (2)
Code of Conduct for Board Members April 2011
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