Carole Mundell is the new Director of Science, succeeding the current director Günther Hasinger.

Professor Mundell is an internationally renowned scientist with extensive experience in inclusive leadership, operational management, strategy and international science policy development.

She joined ESA from the University of Bath where she held the Hiroko Sherwin Chair in Extragalactic Astronomy, was founding Head of Astrophysics, and served as Head of the Department of Physics until becoming the first woman Chief Scientific Adviser at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2018 and first Chief International Science Envoy in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office until 2021. She was elected President of the UK Science Council in 2021.

Prof. Mundell began her career at the University of Glasgow where she obtained a BSc Double 1st class Hons. in natural philosophy (physics) and astronomy, followed by a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Manchester and postdoctoral research fellowships at Jodrell Bank Observatory, UK, and University of Maryland, USA, specialising in the physics of accreting supermassive black holes and their role in galaxy evolution.

Returning to the UK in 1999, Prof. Mundell took up a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the Liverpool John Moores University, where she was promoted to full professor in 2007. There she founded the Liverpool Gamma-Ray Burst research group, pioneering robotic autonomous technology for real-time follow-up of satellite-discovered high-energy transients. She was awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award from 2011-16, a scheme that provides support to recruit or retain respected scientists of outstanding achievement and potential for the UK.

Working at the interface of theory, observation and technology development, Mundell has pushed the frontiers of technology to open new windows on the Universe to test long-standing theoretical predictions in extragalactic astrophysics and probe the black-hole driven, dynamic Universe.  She has published over 170 peer-reviewed papers, presented her work to expert and lay audiences around the world and supervised and mentored early-stage career researchers who now hold senior positions in academia and industry.

In 2016, she was named FDM Everywoman in Technology Woman of the Year. In parallel, she has served on a range of national and international strategic, oversight and science funding bodies including the governing Council of the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council, the European Research Council ‘Universe’ grant panels, the international Science and Engineering Advisory Committee for the Square Kilometre Array and the Board of the Onsala Space Observatory.

Her research interests encompass ground- and space-based research and technology development across the electromagnetic spectrum and new technologies and policies for space sustainability.

Prof. Mundell is a vocal advocate for equity and diversity in science and a sought-after public speaker.

ESA – European Space Agency

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