Melanie Austen meeting Princess Anne at PML last year

PML Professor appointed to Government committee


We are delighted to announce that Prof. Melanie Austen has been appointed to the UK Government’s Natural Capital Committee (NCC). 

It is a prestigious advisory role in which Melanie will provide guidance in the ongoing development and implementation of the UK government’s 25 year environment plan.

The NCC is an independent advisory committee, guiding the government on the sustainable use of natural capital – assets and resources in the natural world, from forests to seas, that provide benefits such as food and clean water, coastal protection and flood defence. The Committee will advise on the importance of natural capital to sustainable economic growth, health and wellbeing, and identify potential actions that could be taken to boost these.

“The Natural Capital Committee has been influential in advising government on the importance of natural capital to sustainable economic growth, health and wellbeing,” said Melanie. “I feel honoured to have been invited to join the Committee and am particularly looking forward to adding a distinctly marine perspective, and considering how implementation of the 25 year environment plan could potentially improve our natural marine environment and the sustainable benefits that we gain from it.”

Melanie is a marine ecologist and interdisciplinary marine researcher who is a Head of Science for the Sea and Society group at Plymouth Marine Laboratory. She has recently been appointed as an independent member of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), completed a 3 year term as the Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO), and for the last twenty years she has been developing and leading UK and EU funded collaborative marine research projects, including currently Grand Challenges Research Fund Blue Communities in SE Asia. Through her interdisciplinary research she has examined and quantified the societal consequences and policy relevance of changes to the marine environment and its ecosystems. She has been an Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter medical school since 2014, a member of other Expert Advisory Groups, and has chaired an EU Marine Board expert group on ecosystem valuation. 

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