Priestley Climate Scholars: profiles

Climate scholars

A warm welcome to the Priestley Climate Scholars! Meet the PhD researchers here and find out more about their research areas and interests

I am a PhD candidate based the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds. My research seeks to understand how the latest seasonal climate prediction tools can be used to inform decision making within the energy industry. Research Interests: Decision-making under uncertainty; climate prediction across timescales; novel commercial applications of earth imaging and climate information products; low carbon transition and renewables.
Jeni is a chemical engineer, researching the production of low-carbon hydrogen. This includes renewable bioenergy feedstocks, carbon capture and storage, and novel process designs. Jeni has previously worked in the oil and gas industry, and has completed an internship at the National Assembly for Wales, preparing policy briefings for politicians and the public. Having worked in academia, policy and industry, she is interested in how different parts of society can work together to meet the challenges of climate change.
Thesis title: Managing coral reef growth and decline rates to improve reef resilience. My research applies functional ecology approaches to an understanding of ecological resilience on coral reefs, and how this in turn can inform management and conservation planning. Broadly, I am interested in how coral reef ecosystems respond to anthropogenic stressors, and the conservation challenges associated with these. This project is in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, with a field site in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia. This valuable opportunity to work directly with managers and stakeholders aims to ensure that the project meets local research, management and conservation needs.
The aim of my research is to work towards a decarbonised energy supply. To do this I am exploring the role of thermal energy storage as part of integrated and sustainable urban energy systems. My particular interests focus on the complexity of city energy systems, the involvement of a diverse range of local stakeholders traditionally outside of the energy domain, and the need to include social and environmental values in infrastructure investment decisions.
Rachel works between the Climate Change Adaptation Group in the School of Earth and Environment and the Centre for Decision Research in the Business School. Her work focuses on the UK public discourse of climate change and the influence it might have on people's engagement with readying for a changing climate. Her current project is analysing UK newspapers to identify the most prominent narratives of climate change impacts and adaptation. Rachel is also on the committee of the Priestley Society which organises activities for PhDs and early career researchers.
Thesis title: Hydrodynamics analysis of a porous peatlands environment in extreme climatic events Supervisors: Professor Joseph Holden, Professor Andy Baird Affiliation: School of Geography I am interested to study more about tropical peatlands and wetlands restoration. Moreover, I am curious to do research on how the environment will change and possibly adapt to future climate change and certain land use managements.
Project title: Glacial and postglacial landscape evolution of Dogger Bank, North Sea. Future climate change poses threats to ice sheet stability, causing sea-level rise. By understanding how past climate change affected ice sheet behaviour and the influence of rapid sea-level rise on past coastlines, this project will help to constrain future projection of ice sheet collapse and associated sea-level rise.
Adele Dixon
Thesis title: Understanding and managing tropical marine ecosystem vulnerability to improve climate change futures. I am interested in improving assessments of coral reef vulnerability to climate change in order to inform conservation initiatives through protected area designation and goal setting. This involves the use of high resolution climate projections in exposure estimates and bridging the gap between climate exposure and ecological responses.
Pippa Roddis
Pip Roddis is a PhD researcher investigating public acceptance of renewable energy technologies in the UK. She takes an interdisciplinary approach to her research, including human geography and environmental social sciences, and applies both quantitative and qualitative methods. Her PhD is part of the UK Energy Research Centre’s ADVENT project (Addressing Valuation of Energy and Nature Together), which researches energy issues from an ecosystem services perspective. She is co-supervised by the School of Geography and the Sustainability Research Institute in the School of Earth and Environment
Harrison Tan
My primary interests revolve around computational methods in Ecology, typically involving the analysis and modelling of large spatial datasets with respect to mammalian ecology. I am interested in how we can most appropriately represent ecological systems within computational simulations, so as to improve the accuracy of our predictions in regards to the implications of ecosystem change upon threatened species. I am currently working on developing our understanding of the interacting effects of climate change and anthropogenic disturbance, and how they may impact the demography and distribution of ice-breeding pinnipeds (seals and walruses).
Mingchen Li
I am based at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Finance (CASIF), Leeds University Business School. My research interest is Social and Environmental Accounting; Corporate Finance; CSR. My specific area of research is The interplay between corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) performance, GHG disclosure, GHG reputation, firm value, and financial momentum.
Dominic Muenzel
Thesis: Understanding and managing tropical marine ecosystem interactions to improve their climate change futures. I am currently researching the role of connectivity to improve the design of marine protected area networks for coral reefs and associated ecosystems. My background is in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, having worked and studied in various countries across the world.
Harriet Thew
Harriet is an interdisciplinary social scientist with a particular interest in global climate change governance. Her PhD research explores the role of youth participants in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), drawing upon and responding to debates across political science, geography and sociology on the role of non-state actors in collective climate action. Her ethnographic, longitudinal research offers rich insights into governance theories including agency, orchestration, polycentricity and procedural and intergenerational climate justice.
Will Barker
I am a postgraduate researcher based in the Ecology and Global Change cluster within the School of Geography. My work investigates the consequences of insect herbivores for nitrogen cycling in tropical rainforest. In general, I am interested in how biotic interactions effect large scale process within ecosystems, particularly interactions between insects and plants, and how these will be affected by climate change. My research involves field work and greenhouse experiments at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Outside of research, I am interested in how art and science can be effectively combined in non-academic settings.
Thesis title: Spatial distribution, carbon stocks and diversity of lowland tropical peatlands in Central Africa My research aims to improve our understanding of the carbon stored in the largest tropical peatland complex in the world, recently discovered in the central Congo Basin. I combine field, laboratory and satellite data to assess the carbon stocks, spatial extent and ecological diversity of these peatlands. Broadly, I am interested in the ecohydrological functioning of tropical peatlands and how this knowledge can be used for the long-term conservation of these carbon-rich ecosystems.
Catherine joined the School of Earth and Environment as a PhD student in 2018 and is researching the role of Virtual Reality in catalysing pro-environmental behaviour change. Her work is exploring the decision-making mechanisms which occur between empathy being generated by experiencing virtual reality, and the potential for subsequent behaviour change. This project is funded by the University of Leeds Global Challenge Scholarship. It is an interdisciplinary project, based in the School of Earth and Environment, but partnered with the Institute for Transport Studies and the Bradford Institute for Health Research. Catherine is also the PGR representative for the Sustainability Research Institute.