Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click on 'Find out more' to see our Cookie statement.

At a time when the environmental footprint of food production is of concern to many, Dr Lucey has dedicated her career to reducing the damaging effect that deforestation for commodities such as palm oil can have on biodiversity in the tropics.

An aerial view of deforestation

This research has provided scientifically rigorous tools, being used by industry, farmers and regulators to determine the minimum forest patch sizes that need to set aside in agricultural land to preserve biodiversity. Working with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), her NERC-funded research underpins the 'sustainable palm oil' trademark, helping consumers make informed choices and setting industry standards adopted by many of the world's largest producers, already applied across millions of hectares of land.

Dr Phil Heads, NERC's Director of Research & Innovation, who represented NERC on the Impact Awards 2018 judging panel, said: "The early-career finalists this year have both dedicated their careers to stemming the tide of worldwide deforestation and biodiversity loss, and are helping to tackle this at the largest of scales. This was a very closely contested category, and Dr Lucey's research was chosen as the winner in recognition of the large number of beneficiaries of her work, from NGOs to businesses, large and small, to individual consumers around the world. This research is also relevant to industries beyond palm oil, including pulp and paper."

Jen Lucey said: "I’m really excited to have received this award. It feels great to know that all my work with the palm oil sector has been effective in creating international impact for my research. The knowledge exchange process is a fascinating and rewarding experience, not only for ensuring that scientific evidence makes a real difference in solving the complex environmental issues we face, but also for opening up new and intriguing routes for scientific enquiry. I am delighted that my work at the science-policy interface has received this level of recognition."

Read more about Dr Jennifer Lucey's research in the Planet Earth article Protecting biodiversity in palm oil.

See a full report of the awards on the NERC website here.

Similar stories

The Conversation: what 7000 English names for birds tell us about our changing relationship with nature

Andy Gosler from the Department of Zoology writes about a unique project on ethno-ornithology.

Science Blog: The wet market sources of Covid-19: bats and pangolins have an alibi

By David Macdonald, Department of Zoology. The finger of blame has been pointed at wildlife trade in the wet markets of Wuhan, Hubei, China, where this Covid-19 outbreak seems to have originated. But could bats and pangolins really be responsible?

COVID-19 lockdowns significantly reduced transmission of invasive bacterial diseases

A new international study involving University of Oxford researchers has conclusively demonstrated that national lockdowns and public health campaigns introduced at the start of the pandemic have reduced the transmission of bacteria that cause respiratory infections.

SARS-CoV-2 naming system given open platform to harness international scientific collaboration

Researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh have announced the formalisation of the Pango Network, an international team of experts to oversee the identification and naming of different lineages of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Natural climate change solutions highly effective long term

Nature-based solutions (NbS) can contribute to the fight against climate change up to the end of our century, according to new Oxford research in Nature. The analysis suggests that, to limit global temperature rise, we must slash emissions and increase NbS investment to protect, manage and restore ecosystems and land for the future.