Award success

Composite picture of prizewinners Cathy Dolan, Skye King, Andrew Binley, Alona Armstrong and Jos Barlow

Lancaster Environment Centre staff have been recognised for their outstanding achievements in Lancaster University’s 2018 Science and Technology Dean’s Awards.

The Deans awards are open to all staff in Lancaster University’s Faculty of Science and Technology.

The Researcher of the Year award was won by Jos Barlow, Professor of Conservation Science and an expert in how human activities impact tropical biodiversity. It’s the second year running that this prestigious award has gone to a Lancaster Environment Centre academic.

Jos had 20 papers published in 2018 including as lead author on a Nature paper on the future of hyperdiverse tropical ecosystems, which warned that a failure to act quickly and decisively will greatly increase the risk of unprecedented and irrevocable species loss in the most diverse parts of the planet. The paper involved six colleagues from the Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC): throughout the year Jos has successfully supported members of LEC’s Ecology and Conservation research group, which he leads, to publish in highly rated journals such as Nature Climate Change, Global Change Biology, Journal of Ecology and the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

Dr Alona Armstrong won the award for External Engagement and Impact in recognition of her approach of embedding external engagement throughout her research, teaching and service. During 2018 Alona secured a National Environment Research Council (NERC) Industrial Innovation Fellowship. Her NERC SPIES project, which developed a decision support tool to help regulators and the solar energy industry maximise the broader environmental benefits of solar parks, was included in European industry best practice guidelines. And her 3rd year students module assessment was included in a Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Select Committee report to Government.

Professor Andrew Binley won a special award for his Outstanding Contribution to the Faculty. Andy has recently finished a 7-year term as Associate Dean for Resources, responsible for major capital projects, business planning for capital equipment, IT and technical staffing. He was responsible for several high profile capital projects including new buildings for the departments of chemistry and engineering. He also introduced a faculty equipment database (called Kit Cat) that has since been adopted University wide.

The Team of the Year was the faculty wide Recruitment, Conversion and Marketing Team including Cathy Dolan and Skye King from the Lancaster Environment Centre. The Team was recognised for improving the professionalism of the Faculty offering at open days and the personal engagement with prospective students. This has helped to deliver an increases in undergraduate registrations considerably above the University’s strategic aim of 5% year on year, despite a demographic decline in the number of people in the 17/18 age group. The proportion of applicants who put Lancaster University as their firm or insurance choice has also improved.

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