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Dr Jessica Davies

Senior Research Associate

Jessica Davies

LEC Building

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YQ

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 5 95986

Location: C83, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Research overview

Jess is an environmental systems modeller interested in how complexity shapes environmental and socio-economical systems, and how we can improve our understanding and management of our environment through systems modelling and control theory.

Jess is a lecturer in the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business - a joint initiative between Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University Management School and the Pentland Group Plc.

Current Research

Her current research focuses on sustainable soils and land-use. Improving our understanding of soil sustainability and our management of soils is critical to meeting society’s needs for food and water, for protecting communities from floods and droughts, for supporting our natural environment and regulating climate.  Jess’s research aims to advance our scientific understanding of how land use change, soil degradation and altered nutrient cycles influence the sustainability of soils and the multiple services they provide.

Sustainable soils and business

Jess is interested in working with corporations and policy makers to embed this science into decision-making cycles and co-design more sustainable solutions for businesses, societies and our planet. Businesses are key actors in soil management: agricultural industries directly influence soil, but many major corporations indirectly influence soils through acquisition of raw materials in their supply chains. How supply chains influence soil sustainability and its links to food, water, climate and ecosystems is a complex and critical knowledge gap for science, business and governance.


Prior to joining the Pentland Centre, Jess was a researcher in Lancaster Environment Centre and a visiting researcher at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Her research contributed to the Long-Term Large-Scale NERC Macronutrients project (ww.ltls.org.uk), where she collaborated with atmospheric scientists, biogeochemists, ecologists, limnologists, hydrologists, and soil scientists to create an integrated model of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles to simulate the effects of the last 200 years of industrialisation, agricultural intensification, and urbanisation on the UK’s atmosphere-plants-soil-water systems. She also worked with Professor Keith Beven developing the Multiple Interacting Pathways model – a novel approach to modelling water flow and transport using random particle tracking techniques. Jess has a PhD in Control Systems Engineering attained at Loughborough University, and she is interested in applying control theory and multi-agent concepts to environmental problems.

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