Professor Jessica Davies

Professor of Sustainability

Research Overview

I am an engineer and environmental scientist interested in the role of land and soils in creating sustainable food, climate and water futures. I work across a wide range of settings: from forests and peatlands, arable lands and grazed grasslands, to urban landscapes, and employ a wide range of methods in my work: from quantitiative process-based modelling and geospatial analysis to qualitative expert elicitation and citizens juries.

As an engineer, I am focused on solutions, and in my role as Director of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation I help bring together people across disciplines and sectors to work on solutions that benefit ecosystems, communities and economies. I also bring together academics and practitioners across sectors in my role as Principal Investigator for the QUENCH network, that aims to further our understanding of the links between the quality of the urben environment, and nature-connectedness and health and help manage these spaces for ecosystem and human health benefits.

I have deep expertise in environmental modelling, having collaboratively developed hydrological models and the N14CP plant-soil model, which aims to help us understand and predict how terrestrial ecosystems, carbon stores and nutrient cycles respond to climate change, land ues change and multiple other human factors. I am keen to explore how we can borrow concepts and techniques from engineering and data sciences to advance these capabilities. Beyond the science, I am engaged in exploring how these models can be help us make sustainable decisions: can they help us make land management choices, manage risk, inform natural capital accounting or motivate investment in nature-based solutions?

I am passionate about raising awareness of the value of soils and the importance of food and agriculture for a sustainable future. If you would like to learn more, myself and my team have a number of accessible news stories:

You can read more about my soils work and that of our team on our Sustainable Soils Group website. You can also follow me and my relevant projects on twitter @ProfJessDavies @Soilinf @RurbanRev @QUENCHNetwork @CGEInnovation for up to date news.

Selected Publications

The business case for soil
Davies, J. 16/03/2017 In: Nature. 543, 7645, p. 309-311. 3 p.
Journal article

  • Centre of Excellence in Environmental Data Science
  • Improving global stewardship
  • Soil Plant and Land Systems
  • Sustainable Catchments
  • Understanding a changing planet