Read later


During Beta testing articles may only be saved for seven days.

Dame Frances Cairncross becomes Trustee of the Natural History Museum

Leading British economist and respected journalist Dame Frances Cairncross DBE FRSE has been appointed to the Board of Trustees.

She brings to the Board a wealth of experience in fundraising from her former role as Rector of Exeter College, Oxford. Her co-opted appointment is for an initial four-year term from 1 April 2016.

Dame Frances Cairncross worked as an economic columnist at the Guardian and then as a senior editor at The Economist for 20 years.  She has also written a number of books, including "The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution is Changing our Lives" and "Costing the Earth: The Challenge for Governments, the Opportunities for Business”. 

She chaired the executive committee of the Institute for Fiscal Studies and from October 2015-April 2016 has acted as interim Director of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research

Formerly she was the Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council and President of what was the British Association for the Advancement of Science (now the British Science Association). She became Rector of Exeter College Oxford in 2004 before moving on in 2014 to chair the Court of Heriot-Watt University. . 

“Frances’ experience in fundraising brings a particularly important perspective to our board. I am delighted to welcome her as a Trustee and look forward to working with her to steer the Museum through the start of a decade of transformation,” said Lord Green, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Natural History Museum. 

In June 2015 Dame Frances was made a Dame of the British (DBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to education and in recognition of a very successful career as a leading British economist, journalist and academic.

Dame Frances is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and an Honorary Fellow of St Anne's, St Peter's and Exeter colleges, Oxford. She lives in London and is married to the journalist Hamish McRae.

Joining the board along with Dame Frances are two trustees recently appointed by the Cabinet Office, Robert Noel and Professor Dame Janet Thornton. 

Robert is the Chief Executive Officer of Land Securities Group PLC, the UK’s largest listed property company and a constituent of the FTSE100. He is also a Trustee and Director of LandAid, the property industry charity, and is a member of both the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group and the Policy Committee of the British Property Federation.  

Professor Dame Janet Thornton is a world renowned scientific leader widely credited, alongside others, with the establishment of a new scientific field of Bioinformatics.  She combines her research with many advisory roles, including those of Council Member of both the Royal Society and the European Research Council.


Notes for editors 

Images: Please download and credit: © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London (Not for publication)

Media contact Tel: +44 (0) 20 7942 5654/+44 (0) 7799 690151 Email:

  • Cabinet Office press release 
  • The Natural History Museum welcomes more than five million visitors a year and is also a world-leading science research centre. It uses its unique collection and unrivalled expertise to tackle the biggest challenges facing the world today. The Museum studies the diversity of life and the delicate balance of ecosystems to ensure the survival of our planet. It also helps enable food security, eradicate disease and manage resource scarcity. For more information go to