NCI Steering Group

The NCI Steering Group includes eminent experts in natural capital who provide ideas, advice and constructive criticism to the NCI Secretariat on our remit, values and activities.

Helen Dunn


Helen Dunn is an experienced environmental economist. During 2016-18, Helen worked as an independent economic consultant including leading the societal valuation programme for Anglian Water for PR19 Price Review.  Since 2018, Helen has been working for Simetrica-Jacobs, an economics research consultancy specialising in social impact and wellbeing analysis.  Helen was previously a senior economic adviser for the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) specialising in the application of economic techniques and analysis for the environment to policy and project delivery. She enjoyed a wide range of posts during her career over 16 years as a government economist including advising on air quality, transport and the environment and agri-environment policy.

Helen’s recent focus has included a lead role in developing natural capital expertise in government including financing mechanisms, developing greener markets and valuing natural capital. She is the author of HM Treasury, Supplementary Green Book Guidance on the environment and went on a short-term secondment to the Natural Capital Coalition during 2015 focusing on valuing natural capital in business. Helen has had a key focus on collaborative working across the private, public and third sector, for example in encouraging the development of payments for ecosystem services projects. She also participated as a UK representative on various groups including the OECD working party on ecosystems, biodiversity and water for a number of years.

Helen holds a first class BSc degree in economics from the University of Bath and a MSc (with distinction) from University College London (UCL) in environmental and natural resource economics.

Dr Karen Haysom, Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)

Karen Haysom is Ecosystem Services Policy Analyst at the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT). She is an applied ecologist and conservationist, with experience of working both in the mainstream conservation sector and in applied ecological research. Prior to joining BBOWT in November 2014, she was Director of Science (2012-2014) and Director of Conservation (2006-2012) at Bat Conservation Trust. Following a PhD in insect community ecology at University of Durham, she went on to work for Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), CABI Bioscience, University of Reading, and Bat Conservation Trust, undertaking or overseeing research on the impact of agri-environment interventions on biodiversity, invertebrate community ecology, invasive species, bat ecology and the development of biodiversity indicators. From 2006 she convened / co-convened the EUROBATS Intersessional Working Group on Bat Monitoring and Indicators, and in 2011 led a partnership of ten monitoring organisations from nine countries which resulted in the development and publication of the first prototype indicator of bat population trends across Europe. She is a co-author of the first State of Nature report.

Dr Sarah Kemmitt

sarahkemmittSarah Kemmitt’s interest in Natural Capital stems from her varied career, which has spanned ecological conservation, the third sector, scientific research, banking regulation and internal audit.
Sarah’s first degree was in environmental science at UEA where she enjoyed the inspiring teaching of former NCI steering group member Tim O’Riordan. This developed a passion for ecological conservation and she worked in the Norfolk countryside for several years managing ancient woodlands, lowland heath and wetlands. After completing an MSc in environmental forestry at Bangor she founded a community agroforestry project which continues to flourish.
Her scientific career included a PhD in soil microbial ecology & biogeochemistry at Bangor and post-doctoral research at Rothamsted Research with many national and international collaborations. She left the laboratory to pursue a unique opportunity to develop and implement a strategy for the British Library to respond to the changing scientific information landscape. Over the last five years she has worked in financial services regulation, central banking and internal audit.

Prof Edward Maltby, University of Liverpool

edwardmaltbyProf Edward Maltby is Emeritus Professor of Wetland Science, Water and Ecosystem Management, University of Liverpool. He has over 40 years’ experience in scientific research with skills in multidisciplinary/international working and the linkage of natural science to social sciences and policy innovation with particular reference to the functioning of water and wetland ecosystems. He has provide technical advice and advocacy at the Conferences of Parties and technical working groups of The Convention on Biological Diversity, The Ramsar Convention and other policy and legislative fora at international, supranational and national levels. Ed played a key role in the development and implementation of the Ecosystem Approach (CBD/IUCN), the Wise Use concept (Ramsar) and horizontal guidance for wetlands under the EU Water Framework Directive.

Elizabeth Warham FRSB, UKTI Agri-Tech Organisation

elizabethwarhamDr Elizabeth Warham is Head of the UKTI Agri-Tech Organisation which promotes the investment and trade of innovative agricultural businesses, products and services to gain the very best of agriculture through the cutting edge of innovation. Help is provided to institutions, large scale businesses and SMEs to entice foreign investment and encourage sales of UK products abroad. Previously as head of the food, water and environment issues team in the Government Office for Science, she provided support to the Government Chief Scientific Adviser. She also led the GO-Science Review of how the Department of Health manages and uses science to inform the development of policies.
Elizabeth previously worked for the former Department of Trade and Industry Technology Programme on programme delivery and as energy and environment research manager working closely with technological sectors and their user industries. In the UK Department for International Development she managed research programmes to develop appropriate technologies for different agricultural production systems in low- and middle-income countries (Africa, Asia, Latin America and Caribbean). She worked for ten years at the International Centre for Wheat and Maize Improvement in Mexico, in the maize breeding, wheat pathology and seed health programmes. She is General Secretary for the Tropical Agricultural Association (TAA) and technical editor for the TAA Agriculture for Development Journal.

Dr Ruth Waters, Natural England

Ruth is Deputy Chief Scientist and Principal Specialist for the Ecosystem Approach and Natural Capital in Natural England. Her role is to ensure credibility and impact of Natural England’s science, evidence and specialist capability. She works with the science and policy communities to synthesise and interpret their latest thinking and evidence into practical advice and management tools to use on the ground. Previously, she was the overarching project manager for Natural England’s upland ecosystem service pilots, which are a successful example of using the ecosystem approach in practise. Ruth was actively involved in the National Ecosystem Assessment and its follow on. For a number of years, Ruth was a senior conservation officer on the Humber estuary, was a senior specialist in biodiversity leading on the Species Recovery Programme, she worked on invasive species and was the mammal ecologist for the Countryside Council for Wales. Ruth is currently a member of the Panel Advisory Group for NERC’s Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability programme, a member of the LWEC Ecosystem Task Force and a member of Panel Advisory Group for the Valuing Nature Programme.