Social scientists named among UKRI's Future Leaders Fellowships

 Dr Anwen Cooper (School of Archaeology) and Dr Neil Hart (School of Geography and the Environment) are among five Oxford researchers to have been awarded the UKRI's flagship Future Leaders Fellowships, announced this week.

Anwen Cooper’s research, ‘Rewilding’ later prehistory, is a collaboration between Oxford Archaeology, the Universities of Oxford, Exeter and Toulouse, the Archaeology Data Service, Historic England and Knepp Estate rewilding hub, which will trial a new mode of industry-led cross-sector research in exploring later prehistoric wildlife and its relevance to contemporary ecological debates. The nature conservation concept of ‘rewilding’ will be recast in order to reveal the ‘wonder and enchantment’ (Monbiot 2013) of archaeological wildlife during the Bronze and Iron Ages (from 2500 BC to AD 43) - a key period in the transition from ‘wild’ to ‘farmed’ landscapes in Britain.

Neil Hart's research project, First Rains: Fast-tracking multiscale prediction of rainfall onset across tropical and subtropical regional climates, looks at how the rapid rate of climate change is upending centuries of local knowledge about the arrival of the first rains.

Vast regions of Earth's surface experience months-long dry periods before the start of the rainy season. Onset of these rains has defined the start of agricultural calendars for millennia, however, Pre-onset heat extremes are amplifying and the risk of delayed onset is increasing as the planet warms to current CO2 levels; these are risks already committed to irrespective of future CO2 emission. Dire impacts on water, food, health and energy systems accompany such delays. First Rains sets out a research programme to fast-track advances in onset prediction and make the breakthroughs integral to unlocking robust climate adaptation in the face of fickle first rains.

Read the University's full story: Five Oxford researchers awarded Future Leaders Fellowships