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New Director for Cabot Institute for the Environment

Professor Jemma Wadham

Press release issued: 6 August 2018

The University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute for the Environment has appointed a new Director.

Professor of Glaciology, Jemma Wadham, from the University’s School of Geographical Sciences, starts her new role today (Monday 6 August) taking over from Professor Rich Pancost who is now Head of School for Earth Sciences.

Formally established in 2010, the Cabot Institute for the Environment is the University’s first flagship interdisciplinary research institute.

Eight years on, the Institute now unites more than 600 researchers with partners from government, industry, civil organisations and the public against a single mission - to protect the environment and live better with our changing planet.

In a new video, also launched today, Jemma sets out a new, clear mission for the Institute.


Researching the regional and global impacts of melting glaciers, ice sheets and changing biogeochemical cycles, Jemma’s research has taken her to icy field sites all over the world, where she has seen first-hand how our environment is changing as a result of natural and human-induced activity. 

She conducted her first degree (BA and MA) in Physical Geography at the University of Cambridge, UK and subsequently pursued a PhD at the University of Bristol. 

She completed a short post-doctoral research post at the University of Leeds in isotope geochemistry, before returning to Bristol to take up a tenured post at the Bristol Glaciology Centre. She has previously been Head of the Graduate School, Impact Director and Research Director in School of Geographical Sciences.

Jemma recently received a Wolfson Research Merit Award, is a former Phillip Leverhulme Prize holder and is recognised as an influential female researcher by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.

She said: “I’m hugely excited about taking up the role of the Director of the Cabot Institute. For me, the most rewarding moments of my research career have been discoveries that arise when working across disciplines and across borders. This is the essence of Cabot.

“I’m looking forward to leading Cabot’s next phase, catalysing interdisciplinary research at a global scale to provide innovative solutions to the pressing environmental and societal challenges that the world faces”

Outgoing Director, Professor Rich Pancost, added: “It has been a huge pleasure directing the Cabot Institute for the past five years, drawing together some of the smartest and most committed people in the world. The University of Bristol has long been a global leader in environmental research; now we are also recognised to be a leader in interdisciplinary and solution-focused research. 

“But there is still much to be done and I am very excited that Jemma will be stepping up to become the next Director; she has exciting, and bold ideas and we are all excited to work with her in achieving them.”

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, said: “I am very pleased that we have someone of Jemma’s calibre heading up the Cabot Institute. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge into the role.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Rich Pancost for his work in creating and developing the Institute over the past five years and shaping it into the world-leading authority it has now become.”

Further information

For more information of the Cabot Institute’s leading interdisciplinary research visit and explore our six main challenge areas: environmental changefood securitywater,  low carbon energynatural hazards and disasters and city futures.

The website also has information on how to subscribe to the Cabot e-newsletter to keep up to date with the Institute’s progress over the next five years.

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