Our trustees are responsible for the strategic direction of the Forum, identifying opportunities for the development and growth of the Focum, ensuring that it complies with its governing document and that it applies its resources to the pursuit of its charitable purpose for public good.


Dr Alex Ball

Alex Ball is the Head of Imaging and Analysis at The Natural History Museum. He has a particular interest in non-destructive imaging and analysis and a background in 3D imaging and data analysis. He has published extensively on new methodologies in imaging, particularly focussing on SEM and confocal microscopy. Alex sits on the RMS EM Section committee, is co-chair of the Education and Outreach Committee and former RMS trustee. He also coordinates the Hitachi STEM Education Outreach Project in the UK with his colleague James Perkins. This award-winning scheme sends portable SEMs into secondary schools to facilitate student-led research and STEM training for teachers.

Nancy Bell

Understanding the power of science and technology to better preserve, access and interpret collections, is central to the many roles Nancy Bell has held. She is currently a Research Associate, Oxford University, where she is developing protocols to better translate research to policy and practice for the heritage sector. Prior to this she has served in different capacities at the National Trust; National Archives and Record Administration, USA; and was Head of Collection Care, The National Archives, UK. She was on the advisory board of the AHRC/EPSRC Heritage Science Advisory Board, and is currently Chair, Idlewild Trust.

Professor Adam Gibson

Adam Gibson is a medical physicist and heritage scientist based at University College London. He has used various imaging techniques to examine breast cancer, brain activity, bleeds in the brains of premature babies as well as studying books, paintings and manuscripts. He leads a workpackage for the European IPERION HS project, which is preparing for a European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science.  

Dr Jen Heathcote

Jen Heathcote is Head of Investigative Science at Historic England and her background is in geoarchaeology, working in the commercial, academic and public sectors. She has been a trustee of NHSF since 2019 and its Honorary Treasurer since March 2021. She gained experience of strategic development and financial management in voluntary roles suppoorting her local community, as well as through professional activities. Jen is keen to make heritage science services, skills and research accessible to diverse professional and public audiences, and is particularly interested in the interface between cultural and natural heritage. She wants to ensure that NHSF continues to strengthen its voice and visibility as the UK advocate for heritage science, and is committed to helping it become more financially resilient.

Dr Freya Horsfield

Freya is an evidence professional, specialising in strategy, policy and programme-level investment. Her collaboration, management, and delivery experience in multi-stakeholder environments includes service as an AHRC Infrastructure Policy and Engagement Fellow, as part of the AHRC-led team which developed the case for UK investment in heritage science via the RICHeS programme.

Boris Pretzel

Sara Robertson

Sara trained as an architect at Edinburgh College of Art, specialising in historic building conservation. She joined the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 2002, working on conservation policy and practice in various roles including leading the award-winning Faith in Maintenance project. In 2015, Sara left SPAB to join the Heritage Lottery Fund as Head of Historic Environment before returning to the voluntary sector to take up the role of Chief Executive at Icon (the Institute of Conservation) in January 2019. She also champions the conservation of cultural heritage through various voluntary roles with Europa Nostra, Built Environment Forum Scotland, SPAB and the NHSF. Sara was appointed as the Chief Executive at the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) in May 2023.