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Professor Juliet Osborne has been appointed as the new Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI).

Environment and Sustainability Institute appoints new Director

Professor Juliet Osborne has been appointed as the new Director of the University of Exeter’s flagship Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI).

Professor Osborne, who is one of the world’s leading experts in bees and pollinators, has taken up the pivotal role at the world-leading ESI this week.

The Government-backed £30 million ESI, based at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall and which opened in 2011, puts both the University and the region at the forefront of environmental and climate change research.

She succeeds the institute’s inaugural director, Professor Kevin Gaston, who oversaw the initial recruitment of global-leading staff, as well as pioneering research in three key areas of clean technologies, natural environment and socio-economics, during his successful six-year tenure.

Speaking on her appointment, Professor Osborne said: “I am absolutely delighted to be entrusted with this wonderful opportunity to lead the ESI forward in the coming years.”

“Although we are still a relatively new institute, the ESI is home to some pioneering, innovative and successful academics who are already delivering a wide range of world-leading research.

“These foundations give the perfect platform for us to take the ESI forward regionally, nationally and internationally, in the years to come.”

Professor Osborne, Chair of Applied Ecology, joined the University of Exeter in 2012 and carries out research looking at how insects and plants interact within the environment and their role in the provision of ecosystem services.

The pollination of crops is vital to agricultural production and fears over the health of bumblebee and honeybee colonies could have serious impact for agro-ecosystems.

Projects involving Professor Osborne’s research group are combining experiments with computer modelling to predict the success of bumblebee populations, and honeybee colonies. This research provides a powerful tool so that land managers and policy makers can ensure sustainable pollination is able to thrive in tandem with successful arable farming.

Date: 3 May 2017