J.M. McMorrow


  • Hon Senior Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Geography

Personal profile

Research interests

Keywords: wildfire, knowledge exchange, remote sensing, GIS, geospatial science, peatlands, ecosystem services, moorland vegetation, restoration ecology, interdisciplinarity, enquiry-based learning (EBL).

Julia works on wildfire risk management using remote sensing and GIS.  As a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow (now honorary), she carries out action research on wildfire knowledge exchange in the UK. Her associated KE project, Knowledge for Wildfire; improving management of UK wildfire through knowledge exchange, involves liaising with fire service, land management and academic stakeholders to join up cross-sector interests, maximise the use of existing NERC-funded work, and promote new partnerships. She is a member of the England and Wales Wildfire Forum and other national stakeholder forums on vegetation fire and fire statistcs.

Julia has also worked on remote sensing and GIS analysis of peat properties, peatland restoration, land cover change in tropical forests, and on the scholarship of interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

Wildfire and peatlands:

  • Spatial and temporal analysis of wildfire risk
  • Evaluation of satellite and fire service databases
  • Wildfire and ecosystem services policy
  • Hyperspectral remote sensing of peat properties and post-fire peatland restoration.

Tropical forests:

  • Remote sensing of tropical rain forest disturbance by fire, logging and agriculture
  • Dynamics and policy drivers of land cover change in tropical forests
  • Remote sensing for precision agriculture of oil palm plantations.

Scholarship of teaching learning:

  • Client-based projects
  • Interdisciplinary enquiry-based learning (EBL)
  • Virtual fieldwork.


B.Sc. Geography (Liverpool)

M.Sc. Remote Sensing (UCL)

AFRSPSoc Associate Fellow Remote Sensing and Photogrammetric Society


Administrative experience
2012 - 2013       Physical Geography Postgraduate Research Co-ordinator

2006 - 2010       Faculty of Humanities Coordinator and EBL Fellow, Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning (CEEBL)

1999 - 2004       Year 2 Advisor; co-ordinator for level 2 Geography curriculum

1994 - 1999       Year 1 Advisor; co-ordinator for level 1 Geography curriculum

1991 - 1994       Course Director, Geography and Archaeology joint degree


Professional positions

2012 - 2017       NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow

2012 - present   Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) list of experts on wildfire

2012 - present   Fire Research and Statistics User Group, Fire Statistics branch, Home Office (formerly Department for Communities and Local Government)

2010 - present   England and Wales Wildfire Forum

2007 - 2011      NERC Field Spectroscopy Facility steering committee

2007 - 2011      External Examiner for MSc in Applied GIS & Remote Sensing; University of Salford

2005 - present   Scientific Review Panel for European Fleet for Airborne Research (EUFAR) Transitional Access

2004 - 2007      NERC Airborne Research and Survey steering committee

2003 - 2006      External Examiner for BSc in Geography and GIS, Environmental Science and GIS, Geology and GIS; University of Greenwich

1986 - 1992      Council member and Chair of Education and Training committee, Remote Sensing Society (now Remote Sensing and Photogrammetric Society)

1986 - 1989      National Remote Sensing Centre working group on Education and Training



2012                Natural Environment Research Council, Knowledge Exchange Fellowship, open topic competition, 'Knowledge for Wildfire - improving management of UK wildfire risk through knowledge exchange'

2009                Teaching Excellence Award, University of Manchester

2007                Remote Sensing and Photogrammetric Society, annual conference, Poster prize; 'Laboratory spectro-radiometric prediction of peat decomposition: comparison of transmission, lignin-cellulose and other biochemical indices', with A Alroichdi and MG Evans

1999                Highly commended, Innovation in the Curriculum Awards, University of Manchester & UMIST; 'Poster-based assessment of local fieldwork in Geography', with C Perkins

1993                Remote Sensing Society, annual conference, Poster prize; 'GIS. habitat potential modelling of three equid species in East Africa', with D Ormsby


Year 1:

  • GEOG10481 Physical Geography and Contemporary Environmental Processes (wildfires) 

Year 2:

  • Dissertation support
  • Academic advisory meetings

Year 3:  

  • Dissertation support
  • Academic advisory meetings


  • GE60941/40941 Environmental Remote Sensing


Recent PhD students

  • Gail Millin-Chalabi, A radar multi-sensor approach to detect moorland fire scar persistence in the landscape (awarded 2016)
  • Beth Cole, High resolution remote sensing for landscape-scale restoration of peatland (NERC CASE award, Natural England, awarded 2013)
  • Laura Liddaman, Geospatial patterning and the hydro-geomorphological function of eroding peatland (awarded 2009)
  • Amer Alroichdi, Hyperspectral Remote Sensing for Physical and Biochemical properties of upland exposed peat in the UK (awarded 2007)


Curriculum Innovation funding

2005 - 2006     Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning (CEEBL), University of Manchester: 'Embedding interdisciplinarity; developing a generic undergraduate EBL team project module', PI, Co-Is C Woods, I Braidman, S Lorenzo-Zamorano and C Bowsher

2004 - 2005     Curriculum Innovation Fund, University of Manchester: 'Interdisciplinary learning for postgraduates from across the new University of Manchester', Co-I with I Braidman (PI), D Thomas, A Wakefield, P Vallely, MG Evans, C Bowsher, C Woods, D Snook, K O'Rourke and M Ody

2004 - 2005     Curriculum Innovation Fund, University of Manchester: 'Rolling out Interdisciplinarity in the undergraduate curriculum'; PI, Co-Is I Braidman, C. Woods, S Lorenzo-Zamorano and C Bowsher

2003 - 2004     Curriculum Innovation Fund, University of Manchester: 'Interdisciplinarity within the undergraduate curriculum; enquiry-based learning pilot project'; PI, Co-Is I Braidman and C Woods

2001 - 2002     Curriculum Innovation Fund, University of Manchester: 'A web-based learning resource for local fieldwork; Dark Peak Field Guide'; PI

1998 - 1999     Innovation in the Curriculum Awards, University of Manchester & UMIST; 'Poster-based assessment of local fieldwork in Geography', Co-I with C Perkins


Academic websites of interest:

Knowledge for Wildfire, NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship project http://www.kfwf.org.uk

FIRES seminar series - Fire Interdisciplinary Research on Ecosystem Services; fire and climate change in UK moorlands and heaths http://www.FIRES-seminars.org.uk

Environmental Processes Research Group

Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning http://www.campus.manchester.ac.uk/ceebl/


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

External positions

Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

1 Oct 201231 Mar 2017

Areas of expertise

  • GB Physical geography
  • wildfire
  • peatland
  • Remote sensing
  • Geographic Information Science
  • ecosystem services
  • Enquiry-based learning


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