Leadership team

Professor Lindsay Stringer


Lindsay Stringer is Professor in Environment and Development in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York. 

She is a Philip Leverhulme Prize winner and held a Wolfson Research Merit Award from the Royal Society. She has authored several global environmental assessments including the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Africa Regional Assessment, the IPBES Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land, and the IPCC 6th Assessment Report (Working Group II).  

Lindsay's research is interdisciplinary and focuses on understanding the links between environmental change and livelihoods; science, policy and environmental governance and the practical and policy actions that can advance sustainable development. She has worked in a variety of environments in all continents, from drylands to mountains, coasts and forests to develop solutions for sustainability challenges facing land, water, food and energy systems.

Professor James Chong

Food, Water & Waste Research Theme Co-Lead

James Chong is a Professor in the Department of Biology and has held BBSRC David Phillips and Royal Society Industry Fellowships. His research uses multi-omics and computational approaches to understand microbial community dynamics. Such communities are utilised in processes such as anaerobic digestion (AD) where his work aims to improve and optimise the recovery of resources from organic waste.  He collaborates closely with Yorkshire Water in addition to working on interdisciplinary projects with other UK water and waste processing companies.
James is Director of the Centre of Excellence for Anaerobic Digestion (CEAD), a member of the Steering Group for BioVale's AD Special Interest Group and Impact Champion for Biology.  He was previously lead for YESI's Waste and Resource Use Network. 

Dr Liz Rylott

Food, Water & Waste Research Theme Co-Lead

Liz Rylott is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biology, University of York. Her research is focused on developing plants to remediate pollution and recover value from waste.

Liz leads research programmes using syn-bio techniques to investigate xenobiotic detoxification routes in biological systems. Target pollutants include metals, pharmaceuticals and explosives. Through her research on metal recovery, Liz has worked with a number of stakeholder groups in the Waste sector, and is an active member of The Elements of Bioremediation, Biomanufacturing and Bioenergy Metals in Biology network.

Liz has worked with a variety of formats: radio, digital, comics, in-person, to successfully engage a broad range of stakeholders with her research.

Twitter: @LizRylott

Professor Colin Beale

Resilient Ecosystems Research Theme Co-Lead

Colin Beale is a Professor in Ecology and the Director of External Engagement for the Department of Biology, University of York. He is a trustee of A Rocha UK.

Colin's research links spatial ecology and conservation biology, with a strong focus on delivering impact. He leads research programmes on conservation and ecology of savannahs in East Africa, and studies global change impacts on species distributions in the UK and Europe.

Dr Julia Touza

Resilient Ecosystems Research Theme Co-Lead

Julia Touza is a Reader in Environmental Economics in at the University of York working on human-nature relationships to inform policy on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of renewable natural resources. She explores how economic incentives shape human behaviour and what this means for both society and the environment. Her applied research focuses broadly on trade and plant pests and diseases, resilience of social-ecological systems, and ecosystem services modelling, through integrative interdisciplinary research that combine expertise across ecology, economics, mathematics, epidemiology, history, and policy among others.

Her work has received funding form European, UK (ESRC, NERC, BBSRC), Spanish and Portuguese research councils. She has also engaged with Defra, Forestry Commission, and Natural England, in a series of research initiatives and projects.  She is currently involved in projects on evaluating private initiatives for biodiversity conservation in the Colombia paramo, public-private collaborative biosecurity schemes, and the flexibility of investments in natural capital to sustain ecosystem services delivery threaten by hazards change. She led the BSc in Environment, Economics and Ecology (2016-2020), and is a scientific member of the BIOECON network.


Professor Peter Coventry

Health and Environment Research Theme Co-Lead

Pete Coventry is a Senior Lecturer in Health Services Research in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York. He is a member of the Mental Health and Addiction Research Group where he co-leads (with Prof Rachel Churchill) a research theme on mental health evidence synthesis. He is also a senior and feedback editor for the Cochrane Common Mental Disorders group.

Pete’s research centres on integration of physical and mental health care, especially for people with multimorbidity. His work is underpinned by an ecological public health perspective and focuses on the development of interdisciplinary and sustainable approaches to developing and evaluating nature based solutions to improve mental health and wellbeing.

He co-leads, with Prof Piran White, a green and blue space research theme, as part of the UKRI funded Closing the Gap Network+ programme, that seeks to address health inequalities in people with serious mental illness. He is also leads the green space research theme as part of the NIHR Yorkshire and Humber Applied Research Collaboration, which partners with stakeholders in the NHS to promote the use green spaces for health and wellbeing.

 Twitter: @Peteyc73


Dr Katherine Brookfield

Health and Environment Research Theme Co-Lead

Katherine Brookfield is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of York. At the core of Katherine's research is an exploration of the relationships between people and their environment. Her work spans various contexts, delving into the intricate dynamics of urban design, housing market influences, and the production and impacts of systems of spatial regulation. 

Katherine’s research often addresses issues of quality of life, examining the multitude of factors that can either enhance or impede a 'good' quality of life. Her portfolio encompasses studies on aids and barriers to social and political participation, age-friendly housing and built environments, supportive settings for stroke survivors, and the social, economic, and environmental outcomes of planning policy and economic development strategies.