University scientists selected to join NERC Advisory Network

Two academics from the University of Plymouth have been selected to join a new initiative designed to enhance the expertise available to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Dr Sian Rees and Professor Tom Hutchinson have been appointed to the new NERC Advisory Network, which will help provide strategic or policy advice on nationally and globally important environmental issues.

Made up of 60 members covering academia, business, the policy community and the third sector, the network will provide a retained, agile and flexible pool of expertise.

It will also enable NERC to promote links with industry and other stakeholders to tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges of the 21st century.

Dr Rees, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Biological and Marine Sciences, has more than 15 years’ experience of researching the social and economic  aspects of marine conservation, marine management and policy.

She has successfully led and delivered research projects for the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative, the European Union and Defra, and is currently involved in the NERC-funded One Ocean Hub and South West Partnership for Environment and Economic Prosperity. She said:

“Through my research, I am motivated to enable environmental science to link more strongly to human wellbeing and economic prosperity. By becoming part of this network, I hope to play a part in furthering the UK’s commitment to excellent research and addressing the multidisciplinary challenges impacting the planet and driving environmental change."


Read more about Dr Sian Rees and her work

Professor Hutchinson, Professor of Environment and Health in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, has over 30 years’ experience researching the environmental exposure pathways of chemicals and their health risks to wildlife and humans.

He has served as an advisor on marine pollution prevention to the UK Government Office for Science as part of the ‘Futures of the Sea’ project, is a member of the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides and serves as an expert advisor to the OECD international environmental test guidelines programme. He said:

“This initiative will help deliver real economic benefits to the UK at a critically challenging period for environmental research and innovation. In the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, NERC-funded research and innovation is central to the future prosperity and human health across the UK, Overseas Territories and Commonwealth. The Network offers a unique opportunity to strengthen NERC’s agility and influence, enabling it to continue supporting research that helps us to understand and predict how our planet works, while managing our environment responsibly.”

Find out more about Professor Hutchinson

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