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Leadership and Management

Professor Monica Grady

Chancellor Monica Grady smiling wearing cap and gown

As Chancellor Professor Grady is the ceremonial head of the University and plays an important ambassadorial role. She acts as an advocate for the University, helping to raise the University’s profile and advance its interests.

Monica Grady is Professor of Planetary and Space Sciences in the School of Physical Sciences at the Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes. Her undergraduate studies were at St Aidan’s College, University of Durham (1976-1979) in the Departments of Chemistry and Geology, followed by postgraduate studies at Darwin College, University of Cambridge (1979 -1983), where she completed her PhD which focussed on carbon in meteorites. Professor Grady worked at the OU until 1991, then moved to the Natural History Museum in London, where she curated the national meteorite collection, until re-joining the OU as Professor in 2005. She also holds a position as a Senior Research Fellow at the Natural History Museum. 

Professor Grady has led major research programmes in the study of the origin and evolution of the Solar System through measurement of meteorites. Her particular research interests are in the fields of carbon and nitrogen chemistry. One of her major areas has been the study of the history of carbon and water on Mars. Because of her work, Professor Grady was appointed by the European Space Agency to serve on international boards convened to define standards for the safe handling of samples returned from Mars. In honour of her contributions to the field, the International Astronomical Union named Asteroid 4731 ‘Monicagrady’. In June 2012, she was appointed a Commander in the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her services to Space Sciences. Professor Grady gave the Royal Institution Christmas lectures in 2003 on the theme ‘Voyage in Space and Time’. 

Professor Grady was born in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1958, the eldest of eight children. She is married to Ian Wright, Emeritus Professor of Space Sciences at the Open University. They have one son, Jack, and a grandson, Matthew. She received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Liverpool Hope in July 2019.