Prestigious fellowship for Lancaster geographer


13 May 2019 10:00
Professor Pete Atkinson

Professor Peter Atkinson - who uses satellite imagery and data science to model environmental change, disease transmission and risk from natural hazards - is elected to Wales’ national academy.

Peter, who is Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology and a researcher in the Lancaster Environment Centre, is one of 48 new fellows elected to the Learned Society of Wales, the youngest of the UK’s learned societies which includes The Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Peter is an interdisciplinary spacial data scientist, combining a range of techniques including statistics and geostatistics, machine learning and numerical modelling with earth observation and other environmental and social data, to answer a wide range of science and social science questions.

These science questions mostly relate to understanding:

  • Spatial and space-time sampling effects
  • Disease transmission systems, especially vector-borne systems
  • Global vegetation and land cover changes
  • Natural hazard impacts and risks

His work is wide-ranging and inter-disciplinary, with practical applications, for instance helping farmers forecast their crop yield, mapping the spread of diseases such as malaria and sleeping sickness to help medical professionals target health programmes, forecasting floods and landslides and monitoring changes in the timing of spring.

Peter has published over 200 peer-reviewed international scientific journal articles on these topics, and authored or edited nine books. He has also published around 50 refereed book chapters, sits on the editorial boards of a raft of journals and has edited nine journal special issues. He has chaired or co-chaired several major international conferences including GeoComputation in 2003, GeoENV in 2008 and RSPSoc in 2015. He has led multiple large grants and supervised over 50 PhD students. His Thompson H-index is 52 in Google Scholar and 36 in WoS. He is the 2016 recipient of the Peter Burrough Medal of the International Spatial Accuracy Research Association (ISARA).

Sir Emyr Jones Parry, President of the Learned Society of Wales, said: “I am delighted to welcome 48 new Fellows to the Society. Their election recognises their individual achievements and additions to the world of learning and I am pleased that they encompass such a range of research disciplines and beyond. The addition of these new Fellows will strengthen our capacity to champion excellence across all areas of academic and public life in Wales and abroad.”