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Prof. Simon Willcock


Net Zero and Resilient Farming

Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, AL5 2JQ
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Simon is an interdisciplinary researcher whose main focus lies in the interaction between people and nature. In particular, he is an expert in ecosystem services and the sustainable use of natural resources. His research uses novel quantitative methods. For example, his MobilES project ( used smartphones to conduct surveys on ecosystem services (featuring questions on food and water security, the impact of climate, natural resource use). Simon believes the future of agriculture will be determined by more than food production – which is only one of many ecosystem services provided by the agricultural sector – and is developing large-scale social science to determine how farm-scale changes might impact other aspects of society (e.g. access to recreation).

Simon’s aims to produce real-world outputs that can be applied in numerous policy and business contexts. He has been part of several large projects that focus on ecosystem services and social-ecological systems (e.g. ASSETS [], ARIES [], TESSA [], WISER [], RUST []). He is experienced in working within a team containing broad-ranging skills in order to address complex problems in a holistic way, enabling scientific outputs to influence and impact society.

Measures of Esteem

Simon has presented at numerous conferences, including the British Ecological Society conference (2014, 2016), the Ecosystem Service Partnership conference (2015 and 2016), and A Community for Ecosystem Service conference (2018). In addition, he has been an invited speaker at several International Spring University on Ecosystem Service Modelling conferences/seminars (2012–2017) and Ecosystem Service for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) conferences (2012–2016), as well as being invited to speak at King’s College London, Zurich University and Natural Capital Initiative’s 10th anniversary summit. Furthermore, he co-organised a session at the Ecosystem Service Partnership Africa 2016 conference, and co-edited special issues of Ecosystem Services and Land. Simon has supervised 9 PhD students, and invites applications from potential future PhD students