UK Team

University of Southampton: A research-intensive university and a founding member of the prestigious Russell Group, the University of Southampton is the lead partner on the BRECcIA project.
 


Professor Justin Sheffield
 Professor

Justin Sheffield is Professor of Hydrology and Remote Sensing at the University of Southampton, UK. His research is on fundamental and applied research on large-scale hydrology and its interactions with climate variability and change. He has published extensively on hydrological extremes, climate change, and hydrological processes from catchment to global scale, and on the application of research to hazards impacts reduction, and water and food security particularly in developing regions. He has received a number of awards including the 2014 Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water for work on drought monitoring and prediction, and the 2013 European Geosciences Union Plinius Medal for multi-disciplinary research and applications in hydrological hazards. He was named the 2019 Robert E. Horton Lecturer in Hydrology by the American Meteorological Society for advancing hydrologically coherent analyses of drought across scales, and pioneering the development of integrated drought monitoring tools for food-insecure countries.
 

Professor Jadu Dash, Professor in Remote Sensing, Geography and Environmental Science

Professor Dash has existing research collaborations with several leading research organisations across the world including the NASA, European Space Agency, the Chinese Academy of Science, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), Italy, and the Indian Institute of technology (IIT). He is a professor in remote sensing and Director of research for the Geography and Environment academic unit. His current research objective is to exploit the opportunities provided by the current and future Earth observation satellite missions (e.g. European Space Agency’s Sentinel programme) to monitor the state of terrestrial ecosystems through quantifying vegetation amount and conditions. In particular using these data to (i) answer key scientific questions related to quantifying and understanding the changes in terrestrial carbon cycle and (ii) provide national scale policy relevant information on agriculture management.
 

Dr Jim Wright, Associate Professor, Geography and Environmental Science

Dr Wright’s current research looks at interventions to widen access to safe drinking-water and support the monitoring of this issue in low and middle income countries. Most recently, he has become interested in safe drinking-water access in urban areas, and livestock and drinking-water contamination. He often uses geospatial data manipulation and analysis, particularly when it comes to monitoring. He has worked in sub-Saharan Africa since the mid-1990s. His current projects focus on urban groundwater quality management in Ghana and on the management of livestock-related water contamination in Kenya.
 

Dr Julie Reeves, Researcher Developer – Lecturer in Academic Practice (Research)

Julie Reeves is currently the Researcher Developer at the University of Southampton, designing and delivering training and development programmes for doctoral researchers, research and academic staff. Currently, she is researching and reflecting on organisational development and appropriate models of development for higher education.

 

Professor Laura Lewis, Professor of Anthropology, Modern Languages and Linguistics

Professor Lewis is an ethnographer whose research is broadly on race in Mexico and the African Diaspora in Latin America. In relation to these themes, she also researches and writes on gender; slavery; colonialism and nationalism; migration and transnationalism; visual and material culture, and place. Her most recent book is based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in an Afro-Indigenous rural agricultural village in the southern Pacific coastal region of the state of Guerrero in Mexico (the ‘Costa Chica’). Currently, she is looking at race concepts and transnational practices among 1st and 2nd generation young adults living in the urban United States whose families are from this village.

 

Professor Sarvapali D. (opal) Ramchurn, Professor of Artificial Intelligence, School of Electronics and Computer Science

Prof. Sarvapali Ramchurn is a Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Turing Fellow, and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He is based in the Department of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, where he carries out research into the design of Responsible Artificial Intelligence for real-world socio-technical applications including energy systems, disaster management, and crowdsourcing. His research involves applying techniques from Machine Learning, Data Science, and Game Theory. He has won multiple best paper awards for his research and is a winner of the AXA Research Fund Award for his work on Responsible Artificial Intelligence. He is an advisor to the Open Innovation Team at the Cabinet Office and Chief Scientist at North Star Solar Ltd. He has pioneered the development of AI-based disaster response systems using multi-UAV systems, AI-driven large-scale battery management for smart grids, and an AI bot that outperformed more than 5M human players (top 0.7%) in the English Premier League Fantasy Football Tournament. His papers have been cited more than 6000 times (according to Google scholar) and his work has featured in various media including BBC News, New Scientist, Sky News, BBC Click, and Wired. He is originally from Mauritius and is interested in promoting applications of AI in developing countries.

 

Dr. Daniela Anghileri, Research Fellow

Dr. Anghileri is a research fellow in hydrology in the BRECcIA project. Her research is in the field of hydrology and water resources management. She is particularly interested in analysing the interaction between human activities and the natural environment. She combines models and optimisation techniques to analyse coupled human-natural water systems and decision-making problems to improve water use efficiency, sustainability, and promote an equitable share of water between conflicting uses. She has experience in several real-world water management problems concerning water security and protection from hydrological hazards, such as flood control and drought mitigation, water supply for food production and hydropower production.

 

Matt Kandel, Research Fellow

Dr Matt Kandel is a Research Fellow in Environmental Anthropology for BRECcIA. He is leading a small team on a participatory research and capacity building programme in Upper East region of Ghana and Kitui County in Kenya. Their research is focusing on how land restoration interventions integrate equity, resilience and variability (e.g. socio-ecological, biophysical) into their approaches. In conjunction with their research they will conduct participatory research methods training workshops for local researchers (e.g. postgraduate students, NGO employees), some of whom will go on to use their training in conducting research linked to BRECcIA. In addition to working in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, Matt has conducted long-term fieldwork in north eastern Uganda on land tenure, conflict and agrarian change. Prior to coming to the University of Southampton Matt held a British Academy Newton International Fellowship in Development Studies at SOAS, University of London.

 

Genevieve Agaba, Senior Research Assistant

Genevieve has been involved in a wide range of international research and development projects in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 12 years. Her main focus of study has been local ecological knowledge and ecosystem service trade-offs in smallholder farming systems. She has taught on MSc level modules and research methods field courses and supervised dissertation projects specialising in agroforestry, tropical & temperate forestry. Her current research on the BRECcIA project at the University of Southampton focuses on the impact and efficacy of capacity building activities of the project. There is a large cohort of early career researchers on the project and the aim is to ensure they get the support they need through tailored professional development training and peer-to-peer exchange.

 

Meryl Jagarnath, Senior Research Assistant

With a background both in physical and human geography, my research interests lie in studying the interactions and impacts between people and the environment. I particularly enjoy using spatial tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) to unpack the linkages between socio-ecological systems especially in the face of global and local sustainability challenges. My PhD at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa focused on low carbon climate resilient development to identify areas within the Durban metropolitan that are at risk of major and rapid land use change and climate change impacts attributed to both (i) physical exposure and (ii) socio-economic development and livelihoods. This research was funded by the South African National Space Agency (SANSA). Specifically, I am interested in understanding the implications of global environmental change on natural resources, sustainability, and climate change resilience. Within BRECcIA, my research focuses on the structure, function, and processes of socio-ecological systems in drylands and assessing the vulnerability of these systems to climate variability and change.

 

Chengxiu Li, Research Assistant

Chengxiu Li is a research assistant for the BRECcIA project. She has focused on mapping and monitoring vegetation using earth observation data. Her current project in BRECcIA is to monitor dynamics of cropland area and production and identify drivers in drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa. Working closely with local stakeholders, policy and resilience research theme in the project, she aims to contribute knowledge and understanding for informed and productive agriculture management.

She worked on understanding alpine grassland ecosystems using remote sensing technologies in the University of Zurich, Switzerland for her Ph.D. degree. Specifically, she worked on how environmental variables and human activities affect grassland production and lead to grassland degradation on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

 

Ailish Craig, Masters student

Ailish is a currently a Masters student with an interest in food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently she is looking at the relationship between food security and social capital in Malawi. 

 

 

 
Kings College London: The Geography department at KCL combines both human and physical Geography and is policy focussed relating to modern environmental and urban issues.

 

Dr Kate Schreckenberg, Reader of Development Geography

Dr Kate Schreckenberg is a researcher with a special interest in natural resource governance and the institutional arrangements that deliver equitable and just development. She works predominantly with mixed methods, including participatory research techniques, value chain approaches, household surveys and natural resource inventories