In conversation with Georgina Ferry – ten years on the Board of The Oxford Trust

As she steps down from the Board of Trustees, we chat to trustee Georgina Ferry – science communicator extraordinaire – about her time with The Oxford Trust.

It’s ten years since Georgina was invited by Paul Brankin to join the Board of The Oxford Trust – and what a busy decade it has been. It started with a project to build a glistening pyramidal science centre in central Oxford called the Magnet (Georgina came up with the name) and has ended with the opening of our amazing new Wood Centre for Innovation and the Science Oxford Centre at Stansfeld Park this spring.

However, Georgina’s first responsibility when she joined the Board was to look for a new chief executive. She was part of the team that appointed Steve Burgess, our current CEO. Later, she was involved with the recruitment of some very eminent trustees, including Alison Noble, William James, Megan Morys-Carter, Alistair Fitt, Lynne Pebworth and Jonathan Flint.

Georgina says her forty plus years in science writing and communication – from writing about Dorothy Hodgkin to curating science events and editing the University alumni magazine, Oxford Today– has given her a keen interest in how to position science in society. This made her the perfect choice to join (on behalf of the Trust) the board of

IF Oxford – the local science and ideas festival that we also support. Georgina says, “I have enjoyed helping with the early direction of the festival. As it’s a much smaller organisation than the Trust, I got involved in organising one of their events in Blackbird Leys last year to explore the science and ideas behind the blockbuster film, Black Panther. I’m very keen on building interest in science in disadvantaged communities and the event was a big success.”

What about highlights? One of Georgina’s key highlights is meeting and getting to know our founders and patrons, Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood. As Georgina says, “They are an inspirational couple”. But she also lists the talk at the Said Business School with retired US astronaut Scott Kelly, Martin and Audrey’s 90thbirthday event at Wolfson College, and, of course, the opening of the Trust’s new development at Stansfeld Park in April as things she’ll remember fondly. “ I’m looking forward to seeing the Science Oxford Centre flourish” she says, “and really excited about the opportunities the surrounding 15-acre woodland will bring to young people, especially with the current focus on our environment.”

Georgina has really enjoyed working with others on the Board with industry backgrounds and has been impressed by the commitment of our CEO, staff and trustees, who all put their heart and soul into making sure the organisation thrives. It has made her realise that charities like the Trust need a solid foundation in order to carry out their good work.

We are sorry to see Georgina go but we wish her the best of luck with her next book – she says it’s only at the proposal stage… You never know, when it’s finished, we might be able to persuade her to come and talk about it at Stansfeld Park.

Georgina, thank you for all your commitment and hard work from everyone at the Trust.