4 June, 2024 News stories

Professor Dame Jane Francis, renowned palaeoclimatologist and Director of the British Antarctic Survey, has been elected as President of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

Yesterday, Monday 3 June 2024, at the Royal Geographical Society’s Annual General Meeting, Professor Dame Jane Francis became President for a four-year term. She takes over as the Society’s figurehead and chair of its elected trustees from Nigel Clifford, former Deputy Chair of the Geospatial Commission, whose term as President concludes. 

Throughout a formidable career, Jane has made significant contributions to government policy and international diplomacy, as well as to polar science by conducting pioneering research and leading expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. Current Chancellor of the University of Leeds, she was the recipient of the Society’s Patron’s Medal in 2022 for her contributions to earth and environmental sciences. 

Prof Dame Jane Francis
Professor Dame Jane Francis is director of BAS and the newly elected president of the RGS


Commenting on her election, Jane said:

“The Royal Geographical Society holds a unique position at the heart of geography, a discipline that is increasingly important as we look to solve the global challenges facing us all. I am honoured to be stepping into the role of President and helping the geographical community to develop and thrive.”

The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) is the learned society and professional body for geography. Formed in 1830 for ‘the advancement of geographical science’, today it delivers this objective through developing, supporting and promoting geographical research, expeditions and fieldwork, education, professional practice, public engagement, and geography input to policy. The RGS aims to foster an understanding and informed enjoyment of our world and holds the world’s largest private geographical collection and provides public access to it. It has a thriving Fellowship and Membership and offer the professional accreditation ‘Chartered Geographer’.

Professor Joe Smith, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Director, said:

“I am delighted that Professor Dame Jane Francis is the Society’s next President. Her wide-ranging knowledge and experience working within education, government policy, research and industry, across the UK and internationally, will be of huge benefit to the Society. I offer Professor Francis my sincere congratulations on her new position and very much look forward to working with her to drive forward the Society’s aims and vision.”