GA Council Biographies


Nicholas Pierpoint
GA President

I started in the oil industry after graduating with a degree in Geology in 1980. The early part of my career was spent in the Middle East working as wellsite geologist for Aramco. Following the 1984/5 oil price crash I studied for a Post-Graduate Diploma in Offshore Engineering at RGIT in Aberdeen. I then worked in Angola for 4 years followed by 24 years as Manager of Geological Operations at BG Group. I am a Chartered Geologist.

I have been an active member of the Hertfordshire Geological Society for many years and the Geologists’ Association since the late nineties. In fact, my children were members of Rockwatch about the same time. Aspects of the GA which really appeal to me include the Student Symposium, Annual Conference and the Festival of Geology where there is an opportunity to meet such a diverse and knowledgeable range of individuals. Local field trips or geoconservation activities from which I learn so much, provide a great opportunity to pursue something I really enjoy with likeminded individuals.


Dr Michael Oates
Vice President

Michael Oates has had a lifelong enthusiasm for rocks and fossils, and gained a BSc in Geology and PhD, from University College, London (1972 and 1976). He is a retired professional geologist who was engaged in oil and gas exploration and development for about 40 years, with half working overseas. Michael served on various Natural Environment Research Council review and advisory committees; the University of London Board of Studies (Geology), Imperial College MSc external examiner and is a Fellow of the Geological Society and member of the UK Stratigraphy Commission. He has served on the GA council and Rockwatch committee since 1992. He retains a strong interest in stratigraphy, palaeontology and history of geology.


Vanessa Banks
Vice President

After gaining a BSc in Geology at the University of Manchester, Vanessa started her geology career working in site characterisation and environmental monitoring for the waste disposal sector. She followed this with an MSc in Engineering Geology at Imperial College, University of London which prepared her for approximately 15 years working as an Engineering Geologist/ Geotechnical Engineer in a range of consulting and contracting roles. After studying for a PhD in karst hydrogeology (University of Huddersfield), Vanessa joined the British Geological Survey in Keyworth, where she works across a broad range of disciplines and is the Team Leader for Shallow Geohazards and Risk.

Keen to gain fieldwork experience, Vanessa has been an enthusiastic member of local geological societies, including the Geological Society of Norfolk and the East Midlands Geological Society for much of her career. Vanessa also has strong links with the Geological Society of London. She joined the Board of the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association in 2014.


Colin Prosser

I have a BSc in Geology from the University of Manchester and a PhD from the University of Swansea.  I am currently Principal Specialist in Geoconservation at Natural England, the government agency responsible for nature conservation in England, where I am responsible for geoconservation policy and practice, including the conservation and management of geological Sites of Special Scientific Interest.  As part of my role, I have served on the Geoconservation Committee of the Geological Society of London, I am a member of the European Association for the Conservation of Geological Heritage, and I am currently a member of the UK Committee for UNESCO Global Geoparks.

I have been a Member of the GA since 1989, an Editor of the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association since 2013, and was President of the GA between 2016 and 2018.


Diana Clements

I became interested in geology as an adult and completed a degree in geology with the Open University. Following her degree, I worked as an Explainer in the Natural History Museum, London. During lunch-breaks, I researched the geology of my neighbourhood which eventually resulted in an exhibition Beneath our feet: the geology of Islington and went on to compile a Geologists’ Association Guide on the Geology of London. I am active in the London Geodiversity Partnership and continue to work in the Natural History Museum in the Earth Science Department. More recently I have worked extensively with Jill Darrell on the William Smith collection of fossils and rocks and in 2019 was one of the authors on William Smith’s Fossils Reunited. I have been General Secretary of the GA since 2011.


Adrian Champion

I graduated as a geologist in the 1970s and subsequently became a chartered accountant.

Having worked in audit, management consultancy and receivership I decided to join BP. I had a number of international assignments, gaining experience in all aspects of the upstream energy business from access in the Caspian region, exploration in Brazil through to production and transportation in Alaska. In the 1990s I qualified as a corporate treasurer and transferred to BP’s supply and trading business in London where I had a number of roles including financial controller and leading a project to implement systems in the global trading business. In 2007 I formed and ran a small company specialising in risk management and finance.

I have been an active member of Hertfordshire Geological Society for many years and became a trustee of the GA in 2018.


John Cosgrove

I am a long term member of the Geologists’ Association and currently serve on the publications and awards committees.

I am Professor of Structural Geology in the Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Imperial College London, UK. and won the Paul Fourmarier Gold Medal, awarded by the Royal Academy of Belgium in 2005 for work on fluid induced failure. I have received awards for excellence in teaching from Imperial College and gives shorts to industry and at academic institutes around the world. I was responsible for the Masters course in Structural Geology and Rock Mechanics for many years and my co-authored book (Price N.J. & Cosgrove J.W. 1990 “Analysis of Geological Structures”) has been used worldwide. I have worked extensively in consulting activities for rock mechanics and rock engineering projects, and have produced two books which were co-authored with John Hudson, (Cosgrove J. W. & Hudson J. A. 2017 “Structural Geology and Rock Engineering” and Hudson J. A. & Cosgrove J. W. 2019 “Understanding building stones and stone buildings”), the former dealing with the fundamental links between the Rock Engineering and Structural Geology.


Haydon Bailey

Haydon Bailey graduated in Geology a long time ago from the University of Sheffield; he has a PhD in Chalk micropalaeontology (from Plymouth), is a Chartered Geologist and has worked as a consultant stratigrapher in the oil and gas industry for over forty years. He still specialises in Upper Cretaceous Chalk stratigraphy, although his career has led to projects throughout much of the geological time scale around Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He recently retired for the position of co-Director of Network Stratigraphic Consulting Ltd., a company he co-founded some 25 years ago. He’s a past President of the Geologists’ Association and is currently Chairman of the GA Curry Fund committee and the Awards committee. He is the Co-Ordinator for the GA SchoolRocks! initiative. He is a past Chairman and Industrial Liaison Officer of The Micropalaeontological Society. Since 2012 he has been Honorary Lecturer on the M.Sc. course in Micropalaeontology at the University of Birmingham and since January 2019 he has been a Scientific Associate of the Natural History Museum, London. He also holds the position of Geological & Environmental Adviser to the Chiltern Society (since 2008), where his initial brief was to prepare a report on the underlying geology of the Misbourne river valley; subsequently this valley became the preferred route for the HS2 high speed railway. It still takes up too much of his time.


David Bridgland

David is a Quaternary geologist, with research interests on fluvial records and landscape evolution. He also works on the Palaeolithic artefact and vertebrate and invertebrate fossil contents of Quaternary fluvial sediments, collaborating with suitable experts, and on geoconservation of key sites within this field. His early work was on the River Thames, which has a Quaternary sequence of international importance, and its tributary, the Medway (the river that divides those males born in the county of Kent into Kentish Men and Men of Kent (he is amongst the latter). In 1996 he co-founded a new research group within the Quaternary Research Association: 'FLAG' (the FLuvial Archives Group), in connection with which he was Co-Leader of successive projects within UNESCO's International Geological Correlation Programme (IGCP: now International Geoscience Programme), the first (2000–2004) entitled 'Global correlation of Late Cenozoic Fluvial Deposits' and the second (2005–2007) 'Fluvial sequences as evidence for landscape and climatic evolution in the Late Cenozoic'. He has also fronted projects on fluvial sequences and their fauna and archaeology in the Levant (Syria and southern Turkey) and, with Aggregates Levy funding, in the eastern Pennine rivers (Tees to Ure) and in the Trent and Fenland rivers systems. He joined the Council of the Geologists' Association in 2009 as Senior Vice President, becoming President for a two-year period from May 2010. He continues to serve as GA representative for Earth Heritage magazine.