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The Natural History Museum today announces the appointment of Dr Tim Littlewood to the position of Director of Science.
Dr Littlewood has held a number of research and managerial roles at the Museum since the early 1990s and has been Head of Life Sciences at the Museum since 2013. As Director of Science he will work with other the other members of the Executive Board to determine the strategic direction and overall management of the Museum.
Director of the Natural History Museum Sir Michael Dixon says: “After a global search and interviewing exceptional candidates I am delighted to have appointed Tim to this role. It is a ringing endorsement of the quality of the Museum’s science and our ability to develop our own talent that such an exceptional candidate comes from within.”
Reporting directly to Sir Michael Dixon, Dr Littlewood will devise and implement a new vision for the future of the science of natural history that builds on the Museum’s world-respected expertise. He will provide leadership on all scientific activities which include the pioneering work of the Museum’s 350 scientists who are using the latest genomic and digital technologies to advance our understanding of some of the biggest issues facing humanity and the planet.
Securing the future of the Museum’s unique collection of 80 million specimens will form a vital element of the role. This colossal and diverse collection is one of the most important natural history resources in the world and is in constant use by the global scientific community. Dr Littlewood will oversee plans to ensure the collection’s future will be protected and developed as well as improve access for both the public and visiting researchers.
The Director of Science role will involve input into the Museum’s programme of special exhibitions and learning and outreach activities.
Dr Littlewood will continue his role as Individual Merit Researcher, Parasitic Worms Group, at the Museum. He is a member of the Royal Society International Networking Panel, and Taxonomic Advisor (Platyhelminthes) to NCBI GenBank. He has previously held lectureships and research positions at King's College, University of London, and Rutgers University. His research interests include the evolution of parasitism, the development and application of molecular tools for systematics and animal evolution.
Tim will retain the role of Head of Life Sciences in the short-term but will soon appoint an interim Head of Life Sciences before commencing the recruitment of his successor. He says: “Few institutions are both so diverse and simultaneously united in a common pursuit. The Natural History Museum is a cherished, enthusiastic and trusted scientific voice for the natural world.
“At a time when our present and our past are so vital in understanding and influencing our future, I feel privileged to be able to demonstrate the unparalleled importance of our collection in revealing how and why nature responds to change.
“Our future is changing rapidly. For real impact, partnerships will be paramount so I look forward to collaborating with others to amplify nature’s voice”.
Notes for editors
The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a world-leading science research centre, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity.
The Natural History Museum is the most visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK; we welcome around five million visitors each year and our website receives over 850,000 unique visitors a month. People come from around the world to enjoy our galleries and events and engage both in-person and online with our science and educational activities through innovative programmes and citizen science projects.