Professor John Underhill FRSE

Current Member

Professor John Underhill is Chief Scientist at Heriot-Watt University, a leadership and advocacy role informing the strategic direction of the university.  He also holds the position of Chair of Exploration Geoscience and is the Academic Director of the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil and Gas. 

He studied Geology at Bristol University and was awarded a PhD from the University of Wales. He worked for Shell in The Hague and London as an exploration geoscientist. He was appointed as Lecturer in the Grant Institute of Geology before becoming Professor of Stratigraphy. Whilst at Edinburgh, Professor Underhill spent sabbaticals in BP and Norsk Hydro.

He was elected to the Board of the European Association of Geoscientists & Engineers (EAGE), an organisation that he led as their President in 2011-12. In 2012, he was awarded the Geological Society’s Petroleum Group’s top award, The Silver Medal, and the Edinburgh Geological Society’s Clough Medal. Other awards include the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Distinguished Educator Award, and the Lyell Medal in 2016. Member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) Scotland’s Energy Future Inquiry (2017-19). Member of the UK Energy Minister’s Technology Leadership Board (2015-18) and Exploration Task Force (2018-19). Member of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) GeoEnergy Observatories Scientific Advisory Group (GSAG) 2015-19.

Professor Underhill was also a well-respected football referee in the Scottish Premier League until reaching the mandatory retiral age and was on the FIFA panel of referees; officiating in European and International matches.

Professor John Underhill joined the SSAC on 01 January 2019.