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Peter Atkinson supervises 13 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Peter Atkinson

Distinguished Professor, Executive Dean, Faculty Dean

Peter Atkinson

LEC Building



Research overview

Professor Peter M. Atkinson is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at Lancaster University, a role he has held since 2015. He was previously Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medicine (a role he held simultaneously with being Executive Dean of FST, 2018-19) at Lancaster. Peter was also Chair of the University's successful Athena SWAN institutional submission (2018-19).

Previously, Peter was Head of School (Geography) at the University of Southampton (2007-12), an executive role with full budgetary responsibility. Following this, at Southampton Peter was Director REF Strategy (the academic lead for Southampton's REF2014 submission).

Research Overview

Peter is a Distinguished Professor of Spatial Data Science at Lancaster University, and an interdisciplinary scientist. Specifically, Peter's research involves the application of space-time statistics and geostatistics, machine learning and AI, and dynamic numerical modeling, to Earth observation (EO) and other spatio-temporal data, to answer a wide range of science and social science questions.  

These interdisciplinary science questions relate to understanding:

  • Spatial and space-time sampling effects, including change of scale and the change-of-support-problem (CoSP)
  • Disease transmission systems, especially communicable diseases such as influenza and COVID-19 and vector-borne disease systems such as malaria and Trypanosomiasis
  • Global vegetation, phenological and land cover changes in response to anthropogenic and climate changes
  • Natural hazard impacts and risks, including flooding, landsliding and near-Earth object (asteroid) impacts

Peter’s scientific research is, thus, highly inter-disciplinary and spans a wide range of methods, and science and social science domains.

Published research

Peter has published over 300 peer-reviewed international scientific journal articles on these topics, and authored or edited nine books. He has also published around 50 refereed book chapters, and edited nine journal special issues. He has chaired or co-chaired several major international conferences including Spatial Statistics in 2017, RSPSoc in 2015, GeoENV in 2008 and GeoComputation in 2003. He has led multiple large grants and supervised around 60 PhD students so far.

Peter's H-index=78 in Google Scholar and H-index=57 in Thompson ISI Web of Knowledge.


Peter is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Southampton, UK and Visiting Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, China.

Peter was elected the International Association of Mathematical Geosciences Distinguished Lecturer for the year 2020. 

Peter was the holder of the Belle van Zuylen Chair at Utrecht University (2015-16), and Visiting Fellow at Green-Templeton College, Oxford University (2012-14).

Peter is the 2016 recipient of the Peter Burrough Medal of the International Spatial Accuracy Research Association (ISARA)

Peter is Editor-in-Chief of Science of Remote Sensing and Associate Editor of Environmetrics and sits on the editorial boards of many leading disciplinary journals.

PhD Supervision

Peter is keen to supervise exceptional PhD students with a strong data science, mathematical, statistical or computer science background, who have an interest in these research topics. If you are interested in applying for a PhD in any of these topics please contact Peter at pma@lancaster.ac.uk.

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