Climate change scientist to receive funding from President of France

University academic Professor Camille Parmesan with the President of France Emmanuel Macron

University of Plymouth academic Professor Camille Parmesan has been selected by the President of France Emmanuel Macron to receive funding as part of his “Make Our Planet Great Again” programme.

The multi-million pound initiative was launched after the United States decided to withdraw from the United Nations’ Paris Climate Agreement.

Its first 18 recipients were announced ahead of the One Planet Summit in Paris on December 12, with Professor Parmesan one of those chosen from more than 1,800 applications.

She has been an academic in Plymouth for nearly seven years, as well as holding positions at the University of Texas, but will now also get the opportunity to work at the Station for Theoretical and Experimental Ecology at Moulis in the Pyrenees.

Her research there will focus on the impacts of anthropogenic climate change on wild species, and its conservation and societal consequences.

This will include exploring changes in human disease risk as a consequence of the range shifts of disease organisms, and assessing climate change risks for species inhabiting mountainous and boreal regions.

Professor Parmesan, National Marine Aquarium Chair in the Public Understanding of Oceans and Human Health and an academic within the School of Biological and Marine Sciences, said:

"It is a great honour to be part of this programme, and be named alongside many exceptional people from the world of climate research. The experimental facilities at Moulis are amazing, and will give me a unique opportunity to further my research into environmental and societal change. I have collaborated with scientists across Europe over many years and am excited about the potential to enhance the links between France and Plymouth in the future."

This is the latest international accolade for Professor Parmesan, who was an named official Contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) when it received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

She has also received the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Award in Science, was named the Outstanding Woman Working on Climate Change by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and was featured in the Who’s Who of Women and the Environment by the United Nations Environment Program.

The vast majority of the “Make Our Planet Great Again” award recipients currently have links to the US, but also include researchers from Canada, India, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Professor Kevin Jones, Executive Dean of Science and Engineering, said:

"This is outstanding news for both Camille and Plymouth, and confirms her place as a leading international researcher into the effects of climate change. It will enable her to pursue new ideas around its impacts on human and animal populations, while exploring the varied ways her work can be adopted by international policy makers."

Research

Camille's research focuses on the current impacts of climate change on wildlife, from field-based work on butterflies to synthetic analyses of global impacts on a broad range of species across terrestrial and marine biomes. She works actively with governmental agencies and NGOs to help develop conservation assessment and planning tools aimed at preserving biodiversity in the face of climate change.

Camille has been involved at a national and international levels in several reports, panels and workshops operating at the interface of science, policy and conservation. Most recently, Camille was a plenary speaker at Our Common Future Under Climate Change, a pre-COP21 scientific conference sponsored by the French government and UNESCO (Paris, July 2015).

Outreach

Camille is also consulted regularly by scientists and journalists during the preparation of films, books and articles. Some of these include: the BBC documentary by David Attenborough "State of the Planet" (1998), a film documentary on natural history of butterflies (Kevin McCarey, 2002) and a TV documentary on human viruses (Tokyo Television, 2003).

Camille is also an advisor for NGOs devoted to communicating the science of climate change and its impacts to the public and policy makers. Some of these roles include; Contributing Editor for Carbon Brief and a Science Advisor for Climate Communication