Stephen established, and still leads, Microsoft Research's Computational Science Laboratory in Cambridge: a diverse team of scientists developing new thinking, new computational methods and new software tools across a range of highly interdisciplinary research programmes to tackle fundamental problems in science in areas of societal importance. Since 2005 the lab has published over 150 scientific papers in areas spanning biological computation, programming biology using DNA strand displacement, immunology, neuroscience, developmental biology, ecology, climatology and conservation biology; and released a suite of novel software tools to enable this kind of science.
Stephen studied Biological Science at the University of York and did a PhD. Computational Neuroscience under Roger Watt at the Centre for Cognitive & Computational Neuroscience, University of Stirling. He was then a postdoc, followed by a permanent scientist, at AT&T Bell Labs. Next, he established and led NCR’s Advanced Research Lab, before finally taking up his current position at Microsoft Research in 2004.
In 2004 Stephen was appointed to the UK Government’s 10 Year Science & Innovation Strategy Committee. In 2005 he was appointed as scientific advisor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (to 2010). In 2008 he was appointed to the Finnish Ministerial Science Strategy Committee. In 2009 he was appointed by the UK Science Minister as a Trustee of The National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts. Stephen is a Professor of Computational Science at the University of Oxford, Visiting Professor of Intelligent Systems at University College London, and a Dinstinguished Fellow of The National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts (NESTA).
Mike Harfoot is biogeochemist who’s research has ranged across atmospheric chemisty and climate policy but is currently more ecologically focussed, with an interest in human impacts on the global biosphere and consequences for the earth system. Mike studied chemistry and computer science at Bristol University before completing a PhD in atmospheric chemistry modelling at Cambridge University. Across his research Mike has been applying dynamic mechanistic modelling approaches in addition to statistical analysis. He is enjoying the current scientific challenge of developing a global, process-based model of ecosystems, and with that the motivation to be able to provide novel and necessary information to decision makers regarding human affects on ecosystems.
Jon Hutton is the Director of the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre. He is also an Honorary Professor of Sustainable Resource Management at the University of Kent. He holds a DPhil in crocodile ecology from the University of Zimbabwe.
Tim is an ecologist, whose main interest is in understanding the impact of human activities on the ecological communities. As well as working on the Madingley model, he also part of a large NERC-funded project (PREDICTS) to collect data on changes in ecological communities around the world in order to understand human impact at a global scale. Tim studied Zoology and completed a PhD on Egyptian biodiversity at Nottingham University.
Drew Purves is head of the Computational Ecology and Environmental Science group (CEES) at Microsoft Research Cambridge. Before joining Microsoft, Drew studied ecology at Cambridge University, did a PhD in ecological modelling at the University of York (UK), and a 5 year postdoc at Princeton. Drew’s overarching research interest is in combining ecological theory, with large and varied data sets, via computational statistics, in order to produce quantitative, predictive models of ecological phenomena. Following Drew’s lead, the CEES group is using this approach to build new models to address global environmental challenges – e.g. carbon-climate, food security, wood production, biodiversity and ecosystem function, pandemics – whilst developing new software tools to enable others to carry out this kind of ecological modelling.
Drew has published over 30 research papers in top peer-reviewed journals, including Science, PNAS, Proc Roy Soc B, and most of the top ecology-specific journals. In 2012, he was one of 40 ‘young scientists’ worldwide invited to attend the World Economic Forum ‘Summer Davos’ meeting in Tianjin, China. He lectures at Cambridge University, and is the treasurer of the British Ecological Society, the world’s oldest ecological society.
Jorn Scharlemann is a Reader in Ecology and Conservation in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex. He has straddled the interface between science and policy for a number of years, particularly in his previous role as Senior Scientist at the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre. His scientific interests include spatial land use planning and conservation, remote sensing, and bird ecology.
Derek Tittensor is a marine ecologist with a particular interest in macroecology and biodiversity. His work has spanned habitats including the deep sea, coral reefs, and the open ocean, and used a combination of theoretical modelling, statistical analyses, and field studies to quantify the human impacts on these environments.