Dr Nem Vaughan awarded Philip Leverhulme prize

Published by  Communications

On 18th Oct 2021

Tall rainforest trees

A scientist at the University of East Anglia is among a “stunningly talented” group of academics whose work has been recognised with a prestigious prize.  

Dr Nem Vaughan, of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and School of Environmental Sciences at UEA, has been awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize. They recognise the achievement of outstanding researchers at an early stage of their career whose work has already attracted international recognition, and whose future career is “exceptionally promising”.  

Each prize is worth £100,000 and can be used over two or three years for any research purpose.  

Dr Vaughan’s work focuses on the role that efforts to take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere might have in meeting climate targets. Her most recent work has focussed on large scale tree planting and novel technologies that use bioenergy to produce electricity but also capture and store carbon deep underground. 

Dr Vaughan, an Associate Professor in Climate Change, said: “This Leverhulme Prize is a unique and exciting opportunity to develop my research that not only spans physical and social science, but also works closely with policy makers, industry and NGO representatives.  

“At the heart of my research is a focus on understanding what role, if any, these greenhouse gas removal methods may have in helping achieve the aspirations of the Paris Agreement and the UK to reach net zero emissions by 2050.” 

Dr Vaughan works with a range of national and international colleagues and ensures that the insights learned through her research are communicated to UK government, parliament, and feed into the International Panel on Climate Change's seminal reports. 

Philip Leverhulme Prizes have been offered since 2001 in commemoration of the contribution to the work of the Leverhulme Trust made by Philip, the Third Viscount Leverhulme and grandson of William Lever, the founder of the Trust. 

This year the Trust has awarded 30 prizes, totalling £3 million in funding, in the subject areas of: Classics; Earth Sciences; Physics; Politics and International Relations; Psychology; Visual and Performing Arts. 

Professor Anna Vignoles, Director of the Leverhulme Trust, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to award these prestigious prizes to such a stunningly talented group of academics.  

“This round was more competitive than ever and the judges had an incredibly difficult task. This is evident from the achievements of the winners, who are working on a very diverse set of topics, from the physics of dark matter to climate science, from research into policing and inequality through to participatory art.” 

Previous recipients of the prizes include UEA colleagues in the Schools of Environmental Sciences, International Development, History and Computing Sciences. 

Dr Vaughan talks with PhD student Aayushi Awasthy on the UEA Climate Change Podcast, discussing whether we have the technology to limit temperature rise. 

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