Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Ian Owens

Deputy Director

Dr. Ian Owens is Deputy Director at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History with responsibilities spanning collections, research, exhibitions, education and operations. Prior to joining the Smithsonian in January 2019, Ian was the Director of Science at the Natural History Museum in London, where he led a number of major initiatives in digital collections.

Ian's own research interests are in the evolution and ecology of birds, particularly natural selection in wild populations and large-scale patterns in biodiversity. Before moving to the Natural History Museum in London, he held a chair in Evolutionary Ecology at Imperial College London and was the Head of Department of Imperial’s Department of Life Sciences, as well as deputy-Director of the NERC Centre for Population Biology.

Ian received his training at the Universities of Liverpool and Leicester in the UK and held a NERC Research Fellowship to work at the Institute of Zoology and University College London. He was awarded the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London in recognition of his contributions to the field of study on the large-scale patterns of diversity and evolution in vertebrates, particularly birds.