Susan Lee

Susan Lee


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Personal profile


Dr. Susan Lee is a Research Associate at the Tyndall Centre Manchester working on Scenarios and enhanced modelling within Theme 1: Visioning for the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations (CAST). She will review existing 1.5 °C emission pathways to develop and analyse alternative low-carbon visions for food and diet, focussing initially on the UK but with a broader remit for Brazil, Sweden and China. She will also help to develop a new framework to identify and assess the lifestyle implications and assumptions within low-carbon scenarios across the UK and the three other countries.


Susan also works as a Research Fellow on the £16m N8 Agrifood catalyst programme jointly funded by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) and each of the N8 institutions. The programme is focused on ensuring the stability and integrity of national and global agri-food supply chains in the face of environmental and socioeconomic challenges. Susan’s role is providing knowledge exchange and research support across all three themes of N8 Agrifood (Sustainable Food Production, Resilient Supply Chains and Improved Consumption and Health). Her role within N8 AgriFood is to facilitate, co-design and co-ordinate research in the field of sustainability. She is interested in modelling plant-soil interactions within an agricultural environment, plant and soil nutrient cycling and links with human nutrition under a changing climate.


Dr. Lee has published over 25 papers and book chapters including a paper in leading journal, Nature and was a co-author on The Little Book of Circular Economy produced by ImaginationLancaster at Lancaster University.


Susan is a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society.



After gaining a B.Sc. (Special Honours) first degree in geography at Sheffield University, Dr. Lee pursued her interest in applied meteorology by completing an MSc in Agricultural Meteorology at Reading University. She then spent five years at the UK Meteorological Office initially as an Agricultural Meteorologist then as a Consultant and Weather Forecaster, before studying for a PhD on vegetation modelling and climate change at the University of Sheffield. During her PhD, Susan developed an interest in mathematical modelling and ecology and produced a paper, with colleagues from the Hadley Centre, for the Nature magazine on this work. She travelled widely at the time presenting at meetings and conferences in North America as well as Europe and the Nordic countries. She also worked further afield with social anthropologists and reindeer herders, north of the Arctic Circle in Finland, studying the impact of climate change on the people and their animals in this region.

Susan spent six years as a database consultant at a large market research company before returning to academia to join the SCORCHIO (Sustainable Cities: Options for Responding to Climate cHange Impacts and Outcomes) Project initially at the University of Sheffield and then the University of Manchester. Since then Susan has worked as a researcher at Leeds and Birmingham Universities on a number of other research projects. At Leeds, she helped to co-ordinate and carried out fieldwork on a Scottish wind farm, undertook meteorological monitoring of two local biofuel crops (miscanthus and willow) as well as running the Weather and Research Forecasting (WRF) Model for temperature and wind flow simulations. More recent projects include: Transforming Birmingham- a city systems approach and the Liveable Cities programme at the University of Birmingham, both funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). She studied the resource flows (energy, water, food, materials and waste) of several cities (Birmingham, Southampton and Lancaster) and quantified these flows using Material Flow Analysis, a technique used within the field of Urban Metabolism. She investigated whole energy systems models and assessed the scope for the inclusion of waste, transport and the built environment sectors into such models. She also brought together practitioners from these sectors to discuss energy use and management at two workshops.

In July 2018, Susan returned to the University of Manchester and joined the School of Electonics and Electrical Engineering as a N8 Agrifood Research Fellow. In Feb 2020, she moved to the Tyndall Centre and now works as part of the CAST team alongside her N8Agrifood role.


Her current research interests include sustainable food production and the impact of global environmental change on food and nutritional aspects of crops.


BSc (Sp Hons) in Geography (University of Sheffield, UK)

MSc Agricultural Meteorology (University of Reading, UK)

PhD Thesis title: Modelling interactions between climate and global vegetation in response to climate change (University of Sheffield, UK )

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Research interests

Dr. Lee’s current research interests include working with integrated assessment model (IAM) scenarios to determine the lifestyle implications of responding to a changing climate, particularly with regarding to changing food sources and diets. She is also particularly interested in developing research that links sustainable crop development with future needs and demands of a growing global population. Such demands include accessibility to foods in an urban environment, access to fresh fruit and vegetables, crops which supply the nutrients required by all age-groups, biofuel crops and fodder crops, catering for increasingly sophisticated tastes for exotic species, increased meat consumption in developing nations and increased vegetarianism in the developed world.


Her research interests include:

  • Whole energy systems modelling and inter-connections between different sectors such as food, energy, transport and the built environment
  • Biogeochemical modelling of interactions between vegetation, climate and soils
  • The impact of a changing climate on existing crops and the potential for growing new crops in parts of the world that were previously unfavourable climatically.
  • Nutrients in food and fodder crops
  • The health and structure of soils and the flow of nutrients through soil water
  • The urban environment including resource flows in cities, vertical farming, air pollution and urban heat island effects
  • Nutrients in food and fodder crops
  • The health and structure of soils and the flow of nutrients through soil water
  • The use of new technology and sensors in agriculture and its environmental, social and economic impacts


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 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Areas of expertise

  • GB Physical geography
  • S Agriculture (General)
  • Q Science (General)

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Futures
  • Digital Futures


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