Professor McGlade became Executive Director of the European Environment Agency in 2003. Prior to this she was Professor in Environmental Informatics in the Department of Mathematics at University College London.
Until 2003, she was a Board member of the Environment Agency of England and Wales with responsibility for Thames region, navigation and science. Formerly, she was Director of the NERC Centre for Coastal and Marine Sciences, Professor of Biological Science at Warwick, Director of Theoretical Ecology at the Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany and senior scientist in the Federal Government of Canada. Her research has focussed on the spatial and nonlinear dynamics of ecosystems, with particular reference to marine resources, climate change and scenario development.
Professor McGlade is currently a Trustee of the Natural History Museum and a member of the Environment Advisory Committee of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, UK-China Forum and UK-Japan 21st Century Group. She is also Director of the software company.