Dr Jill Edmondson, a postdoctoral researcher in the Plant Production and Protection (P3) Centre, has been awarded an Early Career Living with Environmental Change Challenge fellowship by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The five year fellowship, which started in June 2016, provides over £970,000 for Jill to establish herself as an independent researcher within the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences.
Jill’s project studies urban green infrastructure with a particular focus on optimising local food and fuel production for regional sustainability and resilience. It will investigate the potential for own-grown food and short rotation coppice biofuel production in urban green spaces to contribute to wider food and fuel security.
A key part of Jill’s fellowship is a citizen science project that she is undertaking with partner the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardens Ltd. She said of the partnership:
“I am very excited to have received the EPSRC funding because it provides me with the opportunity to work with the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardens Ltd. and to collect public data on a nationwide scale.
Jill explained the study:
“I am combining yield data from those who grow staple UK fruit and vegetable crops in their gardens and allotments with analysis of UK wide urban greenspaces that have potential for food or biofuel production and detailed assessment of the suitability of urban soils for own-growing. The results will contribute to development of strategies for increasing the use of urban greenspaces to enhance the sustainable production of own-grown food and biofuel at a time when land is in short supply.”
Professor Mike Siva-Jothy, Head of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, said of Jill’s fellowship:
“One’s scientific responsibilities and the opportunity for creativity really hit home with the award of an independent fellowship. Jill has huge potential and richly deserves this award – everyone in APS is excited she is holding this award here, and we look forward to her being a part of our community as she develops her career at the University of Sheffield.”
Jill was awarded her degree by the University of Sheffield and went on to get her Masters qualification from Sheffield Hallam University before undertaking her doctoral studies in nitrogen pollution and moorland ecology at Manchester Metropolitan University. She returned to the University of Sheffield to pursue postdoctoral studies and the EPSRC fellowship is Jill’s first main step as an independent researcher.
For more information about Jill’s research, please visit her website.