Leading ecologist to head new environmental research centre

News | Posted on Thursday 13 May 2010

A leading ecologist has been appointed to head a major new inter-disciplinary environmental research centre at the University of York.

Professor Sue Hartley has been appointed as Professor in Environmental Research and founding Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute, YESI. 

YESI is a new inter-disciplinary research centre that brings together leading environmental researchers from a broad range of disciplines to tackle important challenges facing the planet. It comprises more than 60 researchers from the Departments of Biology, Environment, Chemistry, and the School of Social and Political Sciences.  Researchers from other departments such as Law and Electronics are also involved in the new centre, which will create one of the largest clusters of inter-disciplinary environmental research in the UK.

YESI is an exciting and timely initiative and I’m thrilled to be its founding Director

Professor Sue Hartley

Professor Hartley, currently Professor of Ecology in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex, said: "After 10 years at Sussex, moving to the University of York, an institution with an outstanding record in environmental research, is a logical next step for me.

“YESI is an exciting and timely initiative and I’m thrilled to be its founding Director.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to foster links between academics from such a broad range of disciplines and to help turn outstanding science into effective and improved polices for environmental sustainability."

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, Professor Brian Cantor, said: “The York Environmental Sustainability Institute is a significant and visionary initiative, aiming to combine the talents of our world-class researchers in pursuit of sustainable solutions to some of the most challenging environmental issues facing society. I am sure that Sue Hartley will be a great success as its founding Director.”

Professor Alastair Fitter, of the University’s Department of Biology, who led the initiative that created the new Institute, added:  “Sue Hartley is internationally known for her innovative work on plant-herbivore interactions; in December 2009 she delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, an exceptional accolade. I have no doubt that this is a great appointment for us and will give YESI real momentum.”

Professor Hartley will take up her post on 1 November.

Notes to editors:

  • YESI research is grouped under 5 themes: Biodiversity, Climate, Energy, Food and Agriculture, and Health and Wellbeing, reflecting the enormous environmental challenges facing humans and the planet. It is the interdisciplinary nature of YESI’s research that is distinctive and has the potential to offer real advances.