‌Our Leadership Team

Our Leadership Team comprises of academic experts from a range of specialisms e.g. food system resilience, biodiversity and climate change, and environmental contaminants. The team is responsible for overseeing the development of our three key themes: Sustainable Food, Resilient Ecosystems and Urban Living. The team and their activities link closely with the University of York's research themes, particularly the Environmental Sustainability and Resilience theme, and the University's commitment to the new Global Challenges Research Fund. Working with researchers from across the University, and with a wide range of external partners, the YESI team works to provide solutions to real world issues in environmental sustainability and social well-being.

Contact Details
Email: sue.hartley@york.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0) 1904 328640

YESI Director

Professor Sue Hartley

Prof Sue Hartley studied biochemistry at the University of Oxford before moving to the University of York for her PhD on plant defences against insect herbivores and then the University of Sussex where her research included projects on the factors maintaining the biodiversity of tropical forests and the impact of climate change on plant resistance to herbivores.

In 2009 she delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, the fourth woman to do since they began in 1825. In 2010 she moved back to the University of York to become Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI), bringing together leading environmental researchers from a broad range of disciplines to tackle key global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and threats to food security.

Building on the leadership provided by YESI, Sue was the founding Academic Director of the N8 AgriFood Resilience Programme (April 2015 - June 2016) and she is currently a co-lead of the CECAN Centre. Sue is Chair of the Sustainable Agriculture Research Innovation Club, a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and is a former President of the British Ecological Society. Sue is also the University of York's Research Champion for Environmental Sustainability and Resilience

Sue's current research


Contact Details
Email: bob.doherty@york.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0) 1904 325038

Sustainable Food Research Theme Leader

Professor Bob Doherty

Prof Bob Doherty is Professor of Marketing at The York Management School, University of York and principal investigator on a large 4-year interdisciplinary research programme (£3.4m) on food resilience titled ‘IKnowFood’, funded by the Global Food Security Fund. In addition, he holds a number of institutional wide research positions including the University of York lead for the N8 AgriFood and research theme leader for Sustainable Food in the York Environmental Sustainability Research Institute (YESI). Furthermore, he is a member of both the University nominations and the Office for Fair Access committees.

Bob also has a commercial track record having worked in the Global Animal Health industry for 9 years and then was the first Head of Sales and Marketing at Divine Fairtrade Chocolate Ltd between 1998-2003. He has also just been appointed as a trustee on the Fairtrade Foundation board in London.

Bob specialises in alternative approaches to reconfiguring value chains with a particular focus on social innovation. He is also interested in branding, governance and entrepreneurship in business models trying to balance their commercial, social and environmental objectives.

Bob's current research 



Contact Details
Email: jane.hill@york.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0) 1904 328642‌

Resilient Ecosystems Research Theme Leader

Professor Jane Hill 

Prof Jane Hill is professor of Ecology in the Department of Biology at the University of York and leads the University of York's contribution to the Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Oil Palm Research project (SEnSOR) testing the impacts of certification for sustainable oil palm production.

As well as research theme leader for Resilient Ecosystems for the York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI), Jane is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a trustee of the British Ecological Society, and a trustee of the SE Asia Rainforest Research Partnership.

Jane's research examines the impacts of environmental change on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, focusing on the interactive effects of habitat loss and climate change and how to conserve species in human-modified landscapes. Her research is helping to develop policy relating to the adaptation of species to climate change and the development of more sustainable landscapes that help to deliver society's needs whilst conserving biodiversity.

Jane's current research 


Contact Details
Email: alistair.boxall@york.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0) 1904 324791‌

Urban Living Research Theme Leader

Professor Alistair Boxall

Prof Alistair Boxall is Professor in Environmental Science in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York and is the Principal Investigator for the York City Environment Observatory (YCEO) Project.

Alistair is a past member of the Defra Advisory Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee and of the UK Veterinary Products Committee. He regularly advises national/international organisations on issues relating to chemical impacts on the environment and has published on the topic of emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals, nanomaterials and veterinary medicines) in the environment.

Alistair’s research focuses on understanding emerging and future ecological and health risks posed by chemical contaminants in the natural environment. He has a particular interest in developing novel monitoring and modelling approaches for understanding pollution in urban settings.

Alistair's current research‌