Funded by Natural Environment Research Council’s Regional Impact from Science of the Environment programme for 5 years, SWEEP will bring academic experts, businesses and policy makers together to solve some of the challenges involved in managing, utilising and improving the natural environment.
Safeguarding natural capital to increase resilience
Working closely with our partners in industry and the community, SWEEP will co-develop bespoke tools, models and applications to protect and preserve our natural capital. These tools will help mitigate the destructive impact of natural hazards, such as inland flooding and coastal storms, on regional economic growth and wellbeing.
Integrated policymaking for natural capital-led growth
SWEEP will work with policymakers at a regional and national level to support, inform and enhance decision making by providing a complete evidence picture. In doing this, SWEEP has the opportunity to transform the nature of environmental policymaking, delivering interventions that maximise benefits and returns on public investment.
Boosting the business sector: New markets for natural capital
Opportunities for business to connect with, and invest in, natural capital improvements abound in the South West. SWEEP will help businesses to find practical ways to work alongside environmental schemes to boost their business – and the local economy.
Restoring natural capital for economic and social benefit
SWEEP believe that particularly here in the South West, social well-being is intrinsically linked to economic well-being. Our food and water, how we spend our leisure time, and the health of habitats and native species all depend on the quality and longevity of our natural assets. Along with our partners, we will identify new and different ways of working that will reduce negative impacts on the environment and in turn, our well-being.
Adding value: Mainstreaming natural capital into private and public sector decision making
SWEEP will bring together, and add value to, all previous Impact Themes by embedding natural capital decision-making tools within regional businesses and government. By opening up access to tools, data and expertise, SWEEP hope to enable local government organisations to deliver maximum impact from their policy and projects.
Together with our partners in industry and the community, SWEEP will develop bespoke tools and solutions that will aid decision-making, and support the management of our natural environment. SWEEP will drive sustainable economic growth, create new products and services, safeguard jobs, generate new employment, improve policies, and enhance the health and wellbeing of people living in the South West.
The SWEEP academic team combines diverse expertise in environmental science, environmental economics and engineering with great enthusiasm for achieving impact from research. We believe that working collaboratively, across conventional boundaries like sector, produces more meaningful results. We understand that some of the greatest environmental challenges we face can only be tackled by bringing people together.
Rebecca is the SWEEP Impact Officer. Her role is to support the creation, capture and evaluation of SWEEP impact. Rebecca has worked at Exeter University for 5 years, previously managing the GW4 Building Communities Programme. Prior to that, she has worked extensively both overseas and in the UK, across the private, public and not-for-profit sector, managing environmental and health projects including those focusing on sustainable forestry, environmental education and healthy living. Rebecca sits as a magistrate in Exeter’s North and East Devon Bench.
Ben Balmford is a PhD student at the University of Exeter, funded jointly by South West Water and the University of Exeter Business School; funding which was unlocked by NERC’s SWEEP programme. His research looks at how to design mechanisms which pay individuals to make changes for a particular environmental outcome.
Martin is a Marine Ecologist interested in the links between marine biodiversity, ecosystem services and human activity. Within SWEEP, he coordinates the University of Plymouth input, as well as being actively involved in projects associated with Marine Ecosystem Services, particularly Marine Protected Areas.
Ian is Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Exeter Business School. As the SWEEP Director, Ian is responsible for ensuring that the Partnership delivers major real-world improvements in the economy, communities and natural environment of the region. This is achieved through the variety of projects which SWEEP undertakes.
Darren is a Microbial Ecologist with interests in pelagic biogeochemistry and phytoplankton physiology. He is especially interested in pelagic nutrient cycling and the role that marine microbes play in the various associated processes.
Darren has been involved with programmes such as UK-SOLAS and AMT and the Ocean Acidification programmes MedSea and UKOA, and is now contributing to a number of the SWEEP marine projects.
Siân is Impact Fellow on the Investing in Nature for Health project, where she is helping to translate current evidence on the interconnections between the environment and health to inform environmental investment and management.
Siân has been a member of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) since 2018 when she joined them to work on Greenkeeper, an Innovate UK project which developed a toolkit to value the benefits of urban green spaces.
Prior to that studied BSc Biology at the University of Bristol before moving to the University of York for her PhD investigating the benefits of freshwater blue space for health and well-being.
Michela is a postdoctoral researcher in environmental economics. She joined the team at the Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute (LEEP) at the University of Exeter in January 2018, after working as a postdoctoral researcher in environmental economics at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen. Michela’s research is focused on the economic valuation of the benefits that people obtain from the environment. Working across several SWEEP projects, Michela will use economic valuation to inform the development of natural capital accounts in the South West. She will also investigate ways of improving the design of payment for ecosystem services for farmers such that society gets more benefits from a better managed environment.
Naomi studied Environmental Geoscience at the University of Edinburgh. Following a brief period as a Field Studies Tutor along the windy North Norfolk coast, she returned to Edinburgh to work for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency as a Hydrogeologist. During this time she gained an MSc in Applied Hydrogeology from the University of Newcastle. Naomi gained her PhD from the University of Exeter entitled “Determining the effects of peatland restoration on carbon dioxide exchange and its potential for climate change mitigation.”
Alongside her work with the SWEEP Quantitative Habitat Mapping project, Naomi currently works on the “Mires Restoration Project”, funded by South West Water this project aims to understand the effects of moorland restoration on hydrology, water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and agriculture. Naomi is specifically interested in greenhouse gas emissions and vegetation change (structure, composition and function).
Benjamin works on the SWEEP 003 (Leak Detection) and 009 (Whole catchment) projects. He is a Physical Geographer, with a background in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), environmental modelling and river catchment management. He has worked on projects relating to flooding in river/wastewater networks, low-flow hydrology, and chemical risk assessment.
Phil takes care of financial management and administration for SWEEP. Prior to joining the University three years ago, he has been involved in project management in a range of sectors and finance and tax planning. In his spare time he is a rugby referee and enjoys hiking around the region.
Gerd’s activities on the SWEEP project are concerned with generating impact in the coastal zone, specifically in relation to coastal hazards, including coastal flood risk, sea-level rise and beach safety. He is a physical geographer with a strong track record of publication and funding in anything to do with coastal processes and geomorphology. Gerd has worked for the University of Plymouth since 2006, and arrived in Plymouth via Utrecht, Sydney, Perth and Loughborough.
Rachel is the Impact Fellow on SWEEP’s One Coast project, where her expertise in biodiversity accounting is proving invaluable. Based at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Insitute, Rachel’s other research interests include ecological compensation and biodiversity offsetting, conservation finance, strategies for biodiversity conservation, environmental management and impact assessment, landscape-scale conservation and landscape character assessment.
As Impact Fellow on the Mainstreaming Environmental Growth project, Jonathan works closely with Cornwall Council and AONB. He previously conducted research on how oak wood influences the maturation of wines and spirits at the University of Oxford and at INRA Montpellier, and most recently the implications of climate change for the Cornish wine industry at the University of Exeter. Long interested in the relationship between science, culture and religion, particularly how it shapes the way we value and perceive the natural world, he is a TWP writing fellow on science and religion sponsored by Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society.
Tim is delivering an operational wave forecasting tool to better inform local authorities and coastal managers about storm impacts on the South West coastline. Tim is a coastal scientist who has studied the impacts of offshore renewables, the response of storm events on gravel beaches and the role of intertidal rocky platforms on wave attenuation. In Plymouth since 2008, Tim previously worked for the Channel Coastal Observatory where he was surrounded by coastal data!
Siân is a Senior Research Fellow based at the University of Plymouth’s Marine Institute who brings over 14 years of experience in marine conservation, marine management and policy to the SWEEP team. Siân has a strong track record in utilising social science research methods to inform ecosystem-based management and the implementation of Natural Capital approaches. Siân has worked in an advisory capacity for UK Government, the European Commission and the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Greg is an environmental economist specialising in payments for ecosystem services, individual decision making, non-market valuation, and experimental and behavioural economics. He has worked on Defra funded projects investigating paying for environmental goods and services; including the Fowey River Improvement Auction and scoping the potential for auctions within the new Countryside Stewardship scheme, and is now working on the SWEEP Natural Environment Valuation Online (NEVO) tool.
Sam takes care of the SWEEP website, member’s area and social media, and ensures SWEEP’s wide range of stakeholders are kept informed about our work. Sam is our point of contact for media enquiries, and creates written and multimedia creative content for the project teams.
Kit is delivering project 001 – an operational wave forecasting tool to better inform local authorities and coastal managers about storm impacts on the South West coastline. Kit is a coastal scientist who has studied the impacts of offshore renewables on beaches and water users, bathing risks on UK beaches, and drivers of coastal flooding in the UK. When he’s not studying waves and beaches in the office, he’s studying them on a surfboard in the sea.
Diana is the Impact Evaluation Manager for SWEEP. Her role is to ensure that the impact of SWEEP is well evidenced and far-reaching – both for individual projects and accumulatively across SWEEP’s portfolio of projects. She has previously worked in consultancy and as an academic; mainly providing advice on fisheries management issues and undertaking secondments to government. When not SWEEP-ing, Diana works as an artist and supports local community projects.
Grace has been developing and applying innovative computer-based solutions to landscape scale problems. Grace is a member of Professor Juliet Osborne’s pollinator ecology research group who have created a set of cutting-edge computer models of bee behaviour, growth and survival at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute. Grace is working with partners in research, industry and the environment to apply these models to contemporary conservation and food security issues in Cornwall and the UK.
James is an Impact Fellow working on the SWEEP Sustainable Drainage project, exploring the potential for sustainable and resilient surface water management in South West UK.
James has been based at the University of Exeter since 2014, where his research has focused on developing and applying novel rapid flood modelling techniques in collaboration with academic, government and industrial stakeholders. Before this, he worked as an environmental engineering consultant on a range of UK and international urban water management projects.
Ben Wheeler is a Senior Research Fellow at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, at the University of Exeter Medical School. He has a BSc in Environmental Science and a PhD in Social Medicine, and has previously worked in medical schools and geography departments in the UK and New Zealand. Ben has a wide range of research interests in environment-health interconnections, but primarily applies geographical and epidemiological methods to examine the impacts that the environment can have on human health. Recently, Ben has been working to use the research to inform health and environmental policy at various scales, from Cornwall Council, to Natural England to the World Health Organisation.
Sara is an Impact Fellow for SWEEP 004, working on natural capital approaches in Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks. She is a biologist with a background in ecology and ornithology. Sara has been based at the University of Exeter since 2013, where she previously carried out research on Dartmoor’s moorland birds.