Mark has been at The Open University for 20 years and has been Professor of Polar Oceanography since 2018. He is also the Associate Dean of Enterprise and External Engagement in the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Professor Brandon, with a PhD in polar oceanography and over 25 years’ experience, has led successful large-scale international projects in research and teaching around the way the oceans interact with the frozen parts of our planet in Antarctica and the High Arctic and how that affects us all through sea level rise and changing weather patterns.
As one of the UK’s most experienced polar researchers Mark has spent over three years conducting fieldwork in the Arctic and Antarctic regions and his pioneering research led him to be the first person to use robots to explore beneath the Antarctic sea ice.
Mark is committed to public outreach and has also been the Lead Academic Advisor on BBC Frozen Planet in 2012 and more recently was a member of The Open University Academic team on Blue Planet II in 2017.
He was also involved in many other leading BBC programmes over the last two decades shaping and developed the narrative of geographic knowledge in broadcast projects watched by more than 200 million people worldwide.
Professor Mark Brandon said:
“I am accepting this award with great pride and much humility, my work at The Open University has allowed me to work with world-leading research scientists and broadcasters, visit and explore extraordinary places and science frontiers, and thanks to the OU’s unique partnership with the BBC, I have been in the privileged position of being able to share that work with a global audience of millions.
“Through Frozen Planet we were able to bring front-line research into people’s homes and actually show them the effects that climate change is having on our world. Giving people that understanding is the first step in encouraging them to change behaviours which may allow us to slow the inevitable changes and the impact these will have.
“I’m delighted to accept this award and am incredibly proud of the work we’ve done and am extremely grateful to the OU and its staff and students who have supported and shared this journey with me.”
Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor, The Open University, said:
“Mark embodies our mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas and his involvement and influence in some of the biggest reaching geographic documentary programmes of our time has helped people change the way they think about their impact on the earth. Everybody in our OU family is so proud of this much-deserved award for his huge contribution to Polar Science and the OU.”