Dr Jess Davies

PhD

Photo of Jess Davies

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Job title: Lecturer in Sustainability
Division: Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business
Organisation: Lancaster University
Tags: Fellowship: LWEC Fellowship, Researcher
Related theme: LWEC

I am a control systems engineer and environmental scientist who is fascinated by the complexity of our natural world and our relationship with it. These aspects combine in my research, where I develop environmental computer models and work with corporations and regulators to embed this science into sustainable decision-making.

My Fellowship

Soils are a life support system for global society and our planet. They directly provide the vast majority of our food; they are the largest store of carbon in the earth system; and they regulate water quality and quantity reducing the risk of floods, droughts and pollution. As such, I argue that soil is a natural form of infrastructure that is critical to supporting both rural and urban communities and economies.

We need to understand how this infrastructure delivers services, and how resilient it is to land use and management change, and climate change. Soil and its ability to provide food-water-carbon emerges from the interaction between hydrological, physical (soil erosion and weathering), biological and chemical processes, and so knowledge across these fields needs to be combined to understand soil as an infrastructure. This fellowship will draw together these disciplines to create a new computer model that will improve our understanding of soil infrastructures, their value to society and their resilience. This model will be used to explore how future change may influence the provision of food-water-carbon services to our societies and explore ways of enhancing this critical infrastructure.

This fellowship is important to me as I believe soils are the foundation of our future, and I am convinced that we need to bring the complex inter-play between processes, services and people to the front of our minds to create truly sustainable, resilient societies. I am grateful to have the support of EPSRC and LWEC to pursue this research.