Catherine Johns


"Fascinating..." - Spock

Catherine has been CEO of Kielder Observatory for 4 years, successfully guiding the organisation through the pandemic and through a business planning process, creating a happy, vibrant, high-profile and high-performing organisation poised for sustainable growth. Prior to that Catherine was Director of the North East Centre of Excellence for Satellite Applications, building the fastest growing space cluster in the UK. Catherine was instrumental in turning the North East Technology Park from "two buildings in a field" to a £100M pioneering science park, was Vice-Chair of the United Kingdom Science Park Association, a Board Director of the International Association of Science Parks (IASP), founded Women in IASP, and sat on the Women's Advisory Board for the North East Chamber of Commerce. Catherine is a highly experienced trustee and director, currently director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, for iGiant, a Washington DC-based innovation accelerator, an evaluator for Strength in Places, Innovate UK's £300M innovation fund, and will be joining the Council of the British School at Rome in 2024. 

"I vividly remember seeing the launch of the very first space shuttle mission, STS 1, when I was a child. It had a profound impact on me, it felt as though the whole world was watching and celebrating as we reached for the stars once more."

  • Who is your favourite astronomer: Caroline Herschel
  • What is your favourite celestial body: Andromeda galaxy (it's going to crash into us in about 4.5 billion years...)