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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Meet GSE’s new Head of Geography

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Our People & Deep Dives, Specialism Deep Dives

David Wood (@GovHeadGeog), the new pan-government Head of Geography, talks geography, government and GSE.

It’s been a busy first month as the new cross-government Head of Geography (not that I was expecting it to be quiet!).

Government geography

Fantastic to visit Defra (I'm third from right!), attending the #defrageog conference and meeting a thriving group of geographers.

I’ve really enjoyed meeting geographers from across government and seeing their energy and commitment to growing the profession, as well as hearing their ideas for how we can make this happen. I’m also looking forward to visiting more departments and agencies, from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to Defra, to hear about the breadth of their work and the impact that geographers are having.

This is an exciting time for geography and for geographers in government. Technological advances have put geography at the heart of “big data,” with the Chancellor announcing at the Budget a new Geospatial Commission to maximise the value of all UK government data linked to location. There is also growing evidence on the importance of place in government policy, outlined in the ‘What Works Network – Five Years On’.

Geography and GSE

As the newly appointed pan-government Head of Geography, I am supported by the Central Government Geography Group (CGGG), which represents communities of geographers across government.  I am working with them to develop a strategy to grow, professionalise and champion geography.

As part of GSE, we are in an established government profession with an exciting 5 year strategy. The GSE strategy has a vision for “a high profile, proud and effective profession that attracts fresh talent and has a secure place at the heart of government decision making.” I heard all of the great work being done to realise this strategy from each of the working groups at my first GSE Profession Board meeting in January and I will be looking for geographers to work with colleagues across GSE to help accomplish this vision.  You can read more about the profession’s achievements in the one year on report.

GSE is one of the analytical professions responsible for using data and analysis to make better decisions and as such forms part of the Analytical Function in Government. I will be working with my fellow Heads of Science and Engineering Profession (HoSEPs) to link with the other professions within the Analytical Function and ensure it builds on the expertise and strength of geographers, scientists and engineers.

Geographers: we need you!

There will be many opportunities over the coming months for geographers across government to help us refine and deliver the strategy to create a strong and proud profession that supports all our members.

But to do this we need geographers from across government to join GSE so we know who you are and where you sit across government, so that we can build a profession that supports you and let you know of opportunities to get involved. Just make sure you identify yourself as a geographer in Question 9!

You can also check out the Twitter account @GovHeadGeog for more about what I’ve been up to, as well as links to jobs, opportunities and events.

Featured image by European Space Agency (ESA). Body image courtesy of Angharad Stone.

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Haydn Davies posted on

    I'm gratified to learn that Government (or at least the Civil Service) considers Geography a Science and hence a member of the Government Science and Engineering community.

    I wonder if all Geographers working in the Civil Service are aware of this?

    I have a degree in Geography and a Masters in Transport Planning plus membership of relevant Professional Bodies for the latter, but even with these I'm never quite sure if the GSE community is really for me!