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Professor Gavin Shaddick (pictured) from the University of Exeter, and Dr Kirstine Dale from the Met Office, have been appointed as Co-Directors of the new centre.

Pioneering new Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence announce leadership team

The Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence, a new initiative designed to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, has appointed its inaugural leadership team.

Professor Gavin Shaddick from the University of Exeter, and Dr Kirstine Dale from the Met Office, have been appointed as Co-Directors of the new centre, which was announced in July

The ground-breaking new centre will bring together world-leading researchers from the University and the Met Office to spearhead the development of Environmental Intelligence and promote the UK as a global trailblazer in this fast-growing new field.

Professor Shaddick holds a Chair in Data Science and Statistics at the University of Exeter, is an Alan Turing Fellow, and is Director of the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Environmental Intelligence.

Professor Shaddick leads the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Data Integration Taskforce for Global Air Quality, in which role he is actively involved in producing a number of indicators for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and is a member of  the UK government’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) and its subgroup on the Quantification of Air Pollution Risks (QUARK).

Dr Dale has a wealth of expertise in science programme management and strategy, together with extensive experience in designing and implementing new initiatives and partnerships.

Speaking about the appointment, Professor Shaddick said: “ I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to work alongside Kirstine in establishing the Joint Centre and driving forward research to in this crucial area. This is an exciting new chapter in our ongoing and highly successful partnership with the Met Office and represents a fantastic opportunity to bring together the vast range of expertise and experience from across both institutions to address the challenges we face in adapting to changes in our environment.

Professor Janice Kay, Provost for the University of Exeter added: "I am delighted that Gavin has been appointed as the University’s Co-Director of the Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence, he brings a wealth of talent, knowledge and expertise to the role.

“I have no doubt that he and Kirstine will ensure the Centre’s excellent interdisciplinary research continues to address the greatest environmental challenges facing the world today”.

Environmental Intelligence is an exciting new field of research that sits at the interface of environmental and sustainability research, data science, artificial intelligence and digital technologies.

It will be crucial in ensuring that we have the information required to enhance our resilience to environmental change and that our future interactions with the natural environment are sustainable.

Research in the Joint Centre will focus on utilising the power of data to transform our understanding of a changing environment and find solutions to the challenges that this presents.  Initial areas of research will include climate change, clean air, extreme weather events and environmental challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Joint Centre will create, and support, a global community in the application of data science and artificial intelligence to a wide range of environmentally related issues and challenges.   The Joint Centre is exploring collaboration with The Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, to ensure this work benefits from access to the wealth of expertise within The Turing Institute and its partners and is based on the very latest developments in data science and artificial intelligence. 

Details of how researchers from across the University and the Met Office will be able to engage with Joint Centre activities will be circulated shortly, including plans for a landmark symposium in Environmental Intelligence to take place in December 2020.

Date: 7 September 2020

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