Dr Jessica Davies

Lecturer in Sustainability

Research Overview

Jess is an environmental systems modeller interested in how complexity shapes environmental and socio-economical systems, and how we can improve our understanding and management of our environment through systems modelling and control theory.

Jess is a lecturer in the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business - a joint initiative between Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University Management School and the Pentland Group Plc.

Current Research

Her current research focuses on sustainable soils and land-use. Improving our understanding of soil sustainability and our management of soils is critical to meeting society’s needs for food and water, for protecting communities from floods and droughts, for supporting our natural environment and regulating climate. Jess’s research aims to advance our scientific understanding of how land use change, soil degradation and altered nutrient cycles influence the sustainability of soils and the multiple services they provide.

Sustainable soils and business

Jess is interested in working with corporations and policy makers to embed this science into decision-making cycles and co-design more sustainable solutions for businesses, societies and our planet. Businesses are key actors in soil management: agricultural industries directly influence soil, but many major corporations indirectly influence soils through acquisition of raw materials in their supply chains. How supply chains influence soil sustainability and its links to food, water, climate and ecosystems is a complex and critical knowledge gap for science, business and governance.


Prior to joining the Pentland Centre, Jess was a researcher in Lancaster Environment Centre and a visiting researcher at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Her research contributed to the Long-Term Large-Scale NERC Macronutrients project (ww.ltls.org.uk), where she collaborated with atmospheric scientists, biogeochemists, ecologists, limnologists, hydrologists, and soil scientists to create an integrated model of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles to simulate the effects of the last 200 years of industrialisation, agricultural intensification, and urbanisation on the UK’s atmosphere-plants-soil-water systems. She also worked with Professor Keith Beven developing the Multiple Interacting Pathways model – a novel approach to modelling water flow and transport using random particle tracking techniques. Jess has a PhD in Control Systems Engineering attained at Loughborough University, and she is interested in applying control theory and multi-agent concepts to environmental problems.

Hysteresis and scale in catchment storage, flow and transport
Davies, J., Beven, K. 30/07/2015 In: Hydrological Processes. 29, 16, p. 3604-3615. 12 p.
Journal article

Multi-agent control of high redundancy actuation
Davies, J., Dixon, R., Goodall, R.M., Steffen, T. 1/02/2014 In: International Journal of Automation and Computing. 11, 1, p. 1-9. 9 p.
Journal article

Atmospheric deposition of phosphorus to land and freshwater
Tipping, E., Benham, S., Boyle, J., Crow, P., Davies, J., Fischer, U., Guyatt, H., Helliwell, R., Jackson-Blake, L., Lawlor, A.J., Monteith, D., Rowe, E., Toberman, H. 2014 In: Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts. 16, p. 1608-1617. 10 p.
Journal article

Integrated modeling of flow and residence times at the catchment scale with multiple interacting pathways
Davies, J., Beven, K., Rodhe, A., Nyberg, L., Bishop, K. 08/2013 In: Water Resources Research. 49, 8, p. 4738-4750. 13 p.
Journal article

Comparison of a Multiple Interacting Pathways model with a classical kinematic wave subsurface flow solution
Davies, J., Beven, K. 2012 In: Hydrological Sciences Journal. 57, 2, p. 203-216. 14 p.
Journal article

A discrete particle representation of hillslope hydrology: hypothesis testing in reproducing a tracer experiment at Gardsjon, Sweden
Davies, J., Beven, K., Nyberg, L., Rodhe, A. 15/11/2011 In: Hydrological Processes. 25, 23, p. 3602-3612. 11 p.
Journal article

Catchment travel time distributions and water flow in soils
Rinaldo, A., Beven, K., Bertuzzo, E., Nicotina, L., Davies, J., Fiori, A., Rosso, D., Botter, G. 20/07/2011 In: Water Resources Research. 47, 13 p.
Journal article

Modelling, control and monitoring of high redundancy actuation
Davies, J. 1/06/2010 Loughborough University. 301 p.
Doctoral Thesis

Fault Detection in High Redundancy Actuation Using an Interacting Multiple-Model Approach
Davies, J., Tsunashima, H., Goodall, R.M., Dixon, R., Steffen, T. 30/06/2009 In: Fault Detection, Supervision and Safety of Technical Processes. IFAC p. 1228-1233. 6 p.

Modelling of high redundancy actuation utilising multiple moving coil actuators
Davies, J., Steffen, T., Dixon, R., Goodall, R.M., Zolotas, A., Pearson, J. 6/07/2008 In: Proceedings of the 17th IFAC World Congress, 2008. IFAC p. 3228-3233. 6 p.