Council, as the Board of Trustees, has ultimate responsibility for directing the affairs of the Institute, and ensuring that it is solvent, well-run, and delivering the charitable outcomes for the benefit of the public for which it has been set up.

The role of Council can be summarised as follows:

  • Ensuring that the Institute complies with its governing documents, charity law, and other relevant legislation or regulations;
  • Ensuring that the Institute pursues its objects as set out in the Royal Charter;
  • Ensuring that the Institute applies its resources exclusively in pursuance of its objects;
  • Giving firm strategic direction to the organisation, setting overall policy, defining goals, setting targets and evaluating performance against agreed targets;
  • Ensuring proper and effective use of the Institute’s resources, and maintaining and enhancing the reputation and profile of the Institute;
  • Ensuring effective representation of and interaction with the membership;
  • Overseeing the processes for election, progression and disciplining of members;
  • Overseeing the activities of the Executive;
  • Safeguarding the good name and ethos of the Institute.

Council can generally delegate certain powers, but will and must always retain the ultimate responsibility for running the Institute. Given the size of the Institute and its many activities, Council has delegated some powers to standing committees, thus ensuring that the required time and attention is applied to overseeing specific areas of interest. These specific delegations are set out in the relevant committee terms of references.


The Institute is governed by Council which consists of at least 17 (currently 20) members elected from, and by, the corporate membership, and up to 3 co-opted members who are appointed by Council itself.

The membership of Council, along with the terms of office of members, is set out in the Bylaws.

PositionTerm of office
The PresidentTwo years, not eligible for re-election
The President-electTwo years, then takes office as President
At least three Vice-PresidentsFour years, not eligible for re-election for one year after retirement
The Honorary SecretaryFour years, eligible for re-election for second term
The Honorary TreasurerFour years, eligible for re-election for second term
Ten Ordinary MembersFour years, not eligible for re-election for one year after retirement
Up to three Co-opted MembersOne year, eligible to be renewed annually for up to three years


The Chief Executive, Managing Director of IOP Publishing and members of the Executive Board attend Council meetings. Other members of staff may be invited to attend.

Council Membership (Trustees) 2016-2017

PresidentProfessor Roy Sambles20132017
President-electDame Julia Higgins +20152019
Honorary SecretaryProfessor Stuart Palmer20092017
Honorary TreasurerProfessor Julian Jones20112019
Vice-president, MembershipDr Mike Worboys20132017
Vice-president, EducationDr Carol Davenport20162020
Vice-president, BusinessDr James McKenzie20162020
Vice-president, Science & InnovationProfessor Sarah Thompson20152019
Ordinary MemberDr Barbara Gabrys20132017
Ordinary MemberDr Michael Duncan20132017
Ordinary MemberProfessor John Zarnecki20132017
Ordinary MemberDr Trevor Cross20142018
Ordinary MemberDr Lisa Jardine-Wright20142018
Ordinary MemberProfessor Kevin McGuigan20142018
Ordinary MemberProfessor Angela Newing20142018
Ordinary MemberMark Wrigley20142018
Ordinary MemberNeil Thomson20152019
Ordinary MemberDeborah Phelps20152019
Ordinary MemberProfessor Lesley Cohen20162020
Ordinary MemberDr Becky Parker20162020
 + From 2017 to 2019 as President