Professor Sue Hartley reflects on her time at YESI

News | Posted on Friday 6 December 2019

As I enter the last few days as YESI Director, I wanted to take the time to reflect on my time at YESI.

I can’t believe it was almost a decade ago that I applied to be YESI’s Founding Director. Getting YESI off the ground was hard work at first but ever since the institute’s official launch event in 2013 it has gone from strength to strength, supporting over £140mil worth of funding proposals and holding over 150 events and networking opportunities.

The role has been taxing at times but also extremely rewarding. YESI focuses on the global challenges of food security, biodiversity loss and climate change. I have had an opportunity to work with some fantastic people across the University and beyond, on some truly remarkable projects such as IKnowFood, the Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN) and Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Oil Palm Research (SEnSOR) to name a few.

We’ve also held some brilliant events which I have thoroughly enjoyed. A particular highlight was the YESI five year anniversary event which allowed us to showcase some of our exciting projects over the years and to get together some inspirational researchers working on environmental sustainability. I also particularly enjoyed standing on a soapbox in the centre of York, accompanied by a giant caterpillar, at the YESI sponsored Soapbox Science event.

I have been extremely fortunate to have been surrounded by such a great team. The YESI External Advisory Board and Steering Committee have provided some valuable advice, helping to direct and shape YESI, and the Theme Leaders have done a great job in developing key areas of research at the University. The office team has also been wonderful! Their hard work and commitment has driven forward the YESI strategy, allowed us to support so many YESI activities and kept me on track!

I will be extremely sad to leave on the 16th December but I know YESI is being left in very capable hands with Professor Jane Hill at the helm as Interim Director. I am looking forward to embarking on my new journey as Vice President for Research at the University of Sheffield and will no doubt be in touch to explore future collaborations between the researchers at Sheffield and York.