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Julia Martin-Ortega

School of Earth and Environment

Webpage: Julia's webpage

Institution: University of Leeds

My research aims to understand the relationships of society and individuals with ecosystems and how policy can best make use of this understanding for the sustainable management of water and land resources. My research covers three main research lines contributing to supporting sustainable land and water management: a) how to assess the impacts of changes in ecosystems on human welfare; b) how economic tools and principles can be applied to support decision-making; and c) how behaviours can be influenced into more sustainable practices. I develop these in interdisciplinary research processes in collaboration with natural scientists, often using transdisciplinary approaches, with stakeholders views and knowledge placed at the core. 

My research is driven by the desire to have societal impact. Some examples include my work on the value of water resources, which resulted on the amendment of the Water Resources Scotland Bill (2013) and the work on the economics of peatland restoration that informed the economic analysis supporting the UK Climate Change Committee Land Use Report and Defra and Natural England’s Peat Pilots and Scotland’s Natural Heritage Peatland Action. The Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solution Programme (iCASP), for which I am member of its Executive Management and Impact Evaluation Groups, has produced estimated £200k of cost-savings to the region, £4.8M support in regional investments and £200M in influence to business cases.

I am Associate Director of water@leeds, one of the largest interdisciplinary water research hubs in any university in the world, encompassing expertise from across the physical, biological, chemical, social and economic sciences and engineering as well as the arts. I am member of NERC’s Peer Review College and the Steering Group of the Leeds Social Sciences Institute. I am member of the Steering Committee of the Centre of Expertise in Waters of the Scottish Government.

Amongst many other projects, I co-lead the Rephokus project, which aims re-focusing phosphorus use in the UK food system. As part of Rephokus, my work on the assessment behavioural impacts of Northern Ireland's Funded Soil Sampling is being used by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to inform agri-policy frameworks.