Tribute to Dr Richard Payne

Everyone at the University of York is deeply saddened to hear about the death of Dr Richard Payne.


Dr Richard Payne

Richard was killed while attempting to climb Peak 6477, a previously unclimbed subsidiary peak of one of India's highest mountains, Nanda Devi. Our thoughts are with his partner, family and friends at this difficult time.

Richard was an extremely talented scientist and lecturer and he will be greatly missed by staff and students.

Richard was a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Geography and had been with the University since 2015. He was a broad-ranging Environmental Scientist interested in environmental change and environmental management.

Professor Roland Gehrels, from the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York, said: “Richard was a passionate environmental scientist with a wide range of interests.

“He is best known as a world-class peatland scientist and has done important work on climate change and the management of peatlands, advocating their value as carbon stores in mitigating climate change. He has also published influential work on the impacts of air pollution on biodiversity.

“Richard was an outstanding colleague and a real team player. He was an inspirational mentor for students and young scientists, creating opportunities and driving their aspirations. People who knew him were always struck by his tremendous energy and his never-ending stream of ideas.

“He was still a young scientist himself, but was destined to become a world-leader in many aspects of environmental science. His network of collaborators spanned the globe from China and Russia to many European countries and much of the UK.

“Many colleagues became personal friends. His career was tragically cut short by an avalanche in the Himalayas while pursuing his other passion: climbing.

“Richard’s passing is a huge loss to the scientific community, especially in the areas of peatlands and climate change. Students and colleagues will miss him tremendously."

View Richard's research and work on the York Research Database.