Jim Lynch

Professor Jim Lynch

Distinguished Professor of Life Sciences Emeritus
OBE, BTech, PhD, DSc, CSci, CChem, FRSC, CBiol, FRSB, CEnv, FRGS, FRSA
+44 (0)1483 686455
19 AA 02



Research interests


Ana Andries, Stephen Morse, Richard J. Murphy, Jim Lynch, Emma R. Woolliams (2022)Using Data from Earth Observation to Support Sustainable Development Indicators: An Analysis of the Literature and Challenges for the Future, In: Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland)14(3) Mdpi

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework aims to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality, design sustainable cities, support economic growth, tackle climate change and leave no one behind. To monitor and report the progress on the 231 unique SDGs indicators in all signatory countries, data play a key role. Here, we reviewed the data challenges and costs associated with obtaining traditional data and satellite data (particularly for developing countries), emphasizing the benefits of using satellite data, alongside their portal and platforms in data access. We then assessed, under the maturity matrix framework (MMF 2.0), the current potential of satellite data applications on the SDG indicators that were classified into the sustainability pillars. Despite the SDG framework having more focus on socio-economic aspects of sustainability, there has been a rapidly growing literature in the last few years giving practical examples in using earth observation (EO) to monitor both environmental and socio-economic SDG indicators; there is a potential to populate 108 indicators by using EO data. EO also has a wider potential to support the SDGs beyond the existing indicators.

Mercio Cerbaro, Stephen Morse, Richard Murphy, Jim Lynch, Geoffrey Griffiths (2020)Challenges in using earth observation (EO) data to support environmental management in Brazil, In: Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland)12(24)10411 MDPI AG

This paper presents the results of research designed to explore the challenges involved in the use of Earth Observation (EO) data to support environmental management Brazil. While much has been written about the technology and applications of EO, the perspective of end-users of EO data and their needs has been under-explored in the literature. A total of 53 key informants in Brasilia and the cities of Rio Branco and Cuiaba were interviewed regarding their current use and experience of EO data and the expressed challenges that they face. The research builds upon a conceptual model which illustrates the main steps and limitations in the flow of EO data and information for use in the management of land use and land cover (LULC) in Brazil. The current paper analyzes and ranks, by relative importance, the factors that users identify as limiting their use of EO. The most important limiting factor for the end-user was the lack of personnel, followed by political and economic context, data management, innovation, infrastructure and IT, technical capacity to use and process EO data, bureaucracy, limitations associated with access to high-resolution data, and access to ready-to-use product. In general, users expect to access a ready-to-use product, transformed from the raw EO data into usable information. Related to this is the question of whether this processing is best done within an organization or sourced from outside. Our results suggest that, despite the potential of EO data for informing environmental management in Brazil, its use remains constrained by its lack of suitably trained personnel and financial resources, as well as the poor communication between institutions.

Jhuma Sadhukhan, Tom I. J. Dugmore, Avtar Matharu, Elias Martinez-Hernandez, Jorge Aburto, Pattanathu K. S. M. Rahman, Jim Lynch (2020)Perspectives on "game changer" global challenges for sustainable 21st century: Plant-based diet, unavoidable food waste biorefining, and circular economy, In: Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland)12(5)1976 Mdpi

Planet Earth is under severe stress from several inter-linked factors mainly associated with rising global population, linear resource consumption, security of resources, unsurmountable waste generation, and social inequality, which unabated will lead to an unsustainable 21st Century. The traditional way products are designed promotes a linear economy that discards recoverable resources and creates negative environmental and social impacts. Here, we suggest multi-disciplinary approaches encompassing chemistry, process engineering and sustainability science, and sustainable solutions in "game changer" challenges in three intersecting arenas of food: Sustainable diet, valorisation of unavoidable food supply chain wastes, and circularity of food value chain systems aligning with the United Nations' seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. In the arena of sustainable diet, comprehensive life cycle assessment using the global life cycle inventory datasets and recommended daily servings is conducted to rank food choices, covering all food groups from fresh fruits/vegetables, lentils/pulses and grains to livestock, with regard to health and the environment, to emphasise the essence of plant-based diet, especially plant-based sources of protein, for holistic systemic sustainability and stability of the earth system. In the arena of unavoidable food supply chain wastes, economically feasible and synergistically (energy and material) integrated innovative biorefinery systems are suggested to transform unavoidable food waste into functional and platform chemical productions alongside energy vectors: Fuel or combined heat and power generation. In the arena of circularity of food value chain systems, novel materials and methods for plant-based protein functionalisation for food/nutraceutical applications are investigated using regenerative bio-surfactants from unavoidable food waste. This circular economy or industrial symbiosis example thus combines the other two arenas, i.e., plant-based protein sourcing and unavoidable food waste valorisation. The multi-disciplinary analysis here will eventually impact on policies for dietary change, but also contribute knowledge needed by industry and policy makers and raise awareness amongst the population at large for making a better approach to the circular economy of food.

ANA MONICA ANDRIES, STEPHEN MORSE, RICHARD JAMES MURPHY, Jim Lynch, Emma Woolliams (2022)Assessing Education from Space: Using Satellite Earth Observation to Quantify Overcrowding in Primary Schools in Rural Areas of Nigeria, In: Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland)14(3)1408 MDPI AG

Nigeria is a country with a rapidly growing youthful population and the availability of good quality education for all is a key priority in the sustainable development of the country. An important element of this is the need to improve access to high-quality primary education in rural areas. A key indicator for progress on this is the provision of adequate classroom space for the more than 20 million learners in Nigerian public schools because overpopulated classrooms are known to have a strong negative impact on the performance of both pupils and their teachers. However, it can be challenging to rapidly monitor this indicator for the over 60 thousand primary schools, especially in rural areas. In this research, we used satellite Earth Observation (EO) and Nigerian government data to determine the size of available teaching spaces and evaluate the degree of overcrowding in a sample of 1900 randomly selected rural primary schools across 19 Nigerian states spanning all regions of the country. Our analysis shows that 81.4% of the schools examined were overcrowded according to the minimum standard threshold for school size of at least 1.2 m2 of classroom space per pupil defined by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Such overcrowding can be expected to have a negative impact on educational performance, on achieving universal basic education and UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 (Quality Education), and it can lead to poverty. While measuring floor area can be performed manually on site, collecting, and reporting such data for the number of rural primary schools in a large and populous country such as Nigeria is a serious, time-consuming administrative task with considerable potential for errors and data gaps. Satellite EO data are readily available including for remote areas, are reproducible and are easy to update over time. This paper provides a proof-of-concept example of how such EO data can contribute to addressing this socio-economic dimension of the SDGs framework.

Ana Andries, Richard J. Murphy, Stephen Morse, Jim Lynch (2021)Earth observation for monitoring, reporting, and verification within environmental land management policy, In: Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland)13(16) Mdpi

The main aim of the new agricultural scheme, Environmental Land Management, in England is to reward landowners based on their provision of 'public goods' while achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero emission by 2050. Earth Observation (EO) satellites appear to offer an unprecedented opportunity in the process of monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of this scheme. In this study, we worked with ecologists to determine the habitat-species relationships for five wildlife species in the Surrey Hills 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' (AONB), and this information was used to examine the extent to which EO satellite imagery, particularly very high resolution (VHR) imagery, could be used for habitat assessment, via visual interpretation and automated methods. We show that EO satellite products at 10 m resolution and other geospatial datasets enabled the identification and location of broadly suitable habitat for these species and the use of VHR imagery (at 1-4 m spatial resolution) allowed valuable insights for remote assessment of habitat qualities and quantity. Hence, at a fine scale, we obtained additional habitats such as scrub, hedges, field margins, woodland and tree characteristics, and agricultural practices that offer an effective source of information for sustainable land management. The opportunities and limitations of this study are discussed, and we conclude that there is considerable scope for it to offer valuable information for land management decision-making and as support and evidence for MRV for incentive schemes.

Mercio Cerbaro, Stephen Morse, Richard Murphy, Jim Lynch, Geoffrey Griffiths (2020)Information from Earth Observation for the Management of Sustainable Land Use and Land Cover in Brazil: An Analysis of User Needs, In: Information from Earth Observation for the Management of Sustainable Land Use and Land Cover in Brazil: An Analysis of User Needs MDPI

Brazil has some of the world’s most important forest and natural ecosystem resources and their sustainability is of global importance. The expansion of agriculture for livestock, the extractive industries, illegal logging, land conflicts, fire and deforestation are pressures on land use and drivers of land use change in many regions of Brazil. While different institutions in Brazil have sought to use Earth Observation (EO) data to support better land use management and conservation projects, several problems remain at the national and state level in the implementation of EO to support environmental policies and services provided to Brazilian society. This paper presents the results of a systematic analysis of the key challenges in using EO data in land management in Brazil and summarises them in a conceptual model of the factors influencing EO data use for assessing sustainable land use and land cover in Brazil. The research was based on a series of in‐depth, semistructured interviews (43) and structured interviews (53) with key stakeholders who make use of EO data across different locations in Brazil. The major challenges identified in the complex and multifaceted aspects of using this information were associated with access to, and with the processing of, raw data into usable information. The analysis also revealed novel insights on a lack of inter‐institutional communication, adequate office infrastructure and personnel, availability of the right type of EO data and funding restrictions, political instability and bureaucracy as factors that limit more effective use of EO data in Brazil at present. We close this analysis by considering how EO information for the sustainable management of land use and land cover can assist institutions as they respond to the varied political and economic instabilities affecting environmental governance and deforestation levels.

Jhuma Sadhukhan, Siddharth Gadkari, Elias Martinez-Hernandez, Kok Siew Ng, Mobolaji Shemfe, Enelio Torres-Garcia, Jim Lynch (2019)Novel macroalgae (seaweed) biorefinery systems for integrated chemical, protein, salt, nutrient and mineral extractions and environmental protection by green synthesis and life cycle sustainability assessments, In: Green Chemistry Royal Society of Chemistry

Highly efficient macroalgae based chemical factories and environmental protection have been comprehensively studied for the first time to displace fossil resources to mitigate climate change impact. Wild macroalgae by (bio)phytoremediation and residual macroalgae by biosorption can be used to treat wastewaters, marine environment, soil and sludge. Cultured macroalgae can be processed through drying, milling, grinding, suspension in deionised water and filtration extracting sap of heavy metals; centrifugation of solids recovering nutrients; ion exchange resins of supernatants separating protein and polysaccharides; dialysis purifying protein from salts and pretreatment of polysaccharides producing a sugar platform. Protein profiling shows the presence of the essential amino acids as well as others as food additive, flavour enhancer and pharmaceutical ingredient. Sugars can be converted into a chemical: levulinic acid by controlled acid hydrolysis; 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid by heterogeneous catalytic reaction; succinic acid by tricarboxylic acid cycle; lactic acid by fermentation, with 3-5 times market value than bioethanol. Protein, sugar based chemical and inorganics give the highest to the lowest climate change impact savings of 12, 3 and 1 kg CO2 equivalent kg-1 product. Their cost of production is estimated at $2010 t-1, significantly lower than their market prices, making the integrated marine biorefinery system economically more attractive than lignocellulosic terrestrial biorefinery systems. Social life cycle assessment indicates that the highest to the lowest avoided social impacts will be from the displacements of animal based protein, sugars and minerals, in Indonesia, China and Philippines (producing 27 million tonnes per annum, 93% of global production), respectively.

Ana Andries, Stephen Morse, Richard J. Murphy, Jim Lynch, Emma R. Woolliams (2019)Seeing Sustainability from Space: Using Earth Observation Data to Populate the UN Sustainable Development Goal Indicators, In: Sustainability11(18) MDPI

In 2015, member countries of the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Sustainable Development Summit in New York. These global goals have 169 targets and 232 indicators based on the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. However, substantial challenges remain in obtaining data of the required quality and quantity to populate these indicators efficiently. One promising and innovative way of addressing this issue is to use Earth observation (EO). The research reported here updates our original work to develop a Maturity Matrix Framework (MMF) for assessing the suitability of EO-derived data for populating the SDG indicators, with a special focus on those indicators covering the more social and economic dimensions of sustainable development, as these have been under-explored in terms of the contribution that can be made by EO. The advanced MMF 2.0 framework set out in this paper is based on a wide consultation with EO and indicator experts (semi-structured interviews with 38 respondents). This paper provides detail of the evolved structure of MMF 2.0 and illustrates its use for one of the SDG indicators (Indicator 11.1.1). The revised MMF is then applied to published work covering the full suite of SDG indicators and demonstrates that EO can make an important contribution to providing data relevant to a substantial number of the SDG indicators.

SP Martin, JM Lynch, SM Reddy (2002)Optimisation of the enzyme-based determination of hydrogen peroxide using the quartz crystal microbalance, In: BIOSENSORS & BIOELECTRONICS17(9)PII S0pp. 735-739 ELSEVIER ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY
Ana Andries, Stephen Morse, Richard Murphy, James Lynch, Emma Woolliams, John Fonweban (2019)Translation of Earth Observation data into Sustainable Development Indicators: an analytical framework., In: Sustainable Development27(3)pp. 366-376 Wiley

In 2015, member countries of the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Sustainable Development Summit in New York. These global goals have 169 targets and 232 indicators which are based on the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Substantial challenges remain in obtaining data of the required quality, especially in developing countries, given the often limited resources available. One promising and innovative way of addressing this issue of data availability is to use Earth Observation (EO). This paper presents the results of research to develop a novel analytical framework for assessing the potential of EO approaches to populate the SDG indicators. We present a Maturity Matrix Framework (MMF) and apply it to all of the 232 SDG indicators. The results demonstrate that while the applicability of EO-derived data does vary between the SDG indicators, overall, EO has an important contribution to make towards populating a wide diversity of the SDG indicators.

Iffat Naz, Douglas Hodgson, Ann Smith, Julian Marchesi, Shama Sehar, Safia Ahmed, Jim Lynch, Claudio Avignone Rossa, Devendra P. Saroj (2018)Investigation of the Active Biofilm Communities on Polypropylene Filter Media in a Fixed Biofilm Reactor for Wastewater Treatment, In: Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology93(11)pp. 3264-3275 Wiley

BACKGROUND This research is focused on the effect of temperature on the growth of active biofilms on polypropylene (PP) filter media in aerobic fixed biofilm reactors (FBR) for wastewater treatment. RESULTS High‐throughput sequencing was used to explore the composition and diversity of the microbial community of 14‐days old (starting phase) biofilms grown at 10, 20 and 30°C. Members of the classes Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Firmicutes were predominant in all the biofilm samples retrieved from PP‐FBRs. A total of 108 genera of bacteria were identified, with some of them present in all three reactors, including Trichococcus, Zoogloea, Aeromonas, Acidovorax, and Malikias, among others. Besides these shared populations, certain genera were abundantlyfound in individual biofilm samples, like Brevundimonas (17.1%), Chitinimonas (10.3%) and Roseateles (39.3%), at 10, 20, and 30°C, respectively. The metabolic capabilities of active microbial communities in PP‐FBRs were estimated by assessing the changes in different variables (BOD, DO, and pH) in the influent and effluent during operation. A note worthy BOD removal (66.6%) was shown by PP‐FBRs operating at 30°C, as compared to 20°C (28.3%) and 10°C (28.8%),consistent with the DO levels recorded in the effluents, highest at 30°C (70.5%), and decreasing with the declining temperatures. Substantial wastewater treatment efficiencies were observed in the reactors at 30°C, attributable to the higher relative and diversity of microbial biofilms. CONCLUSIONS The development of physiologically active biofilms in PP at all prevailing temperatures strongly suggests that the material is suitable to be employed in FBRs for wastewater treatment at different operational temperatures.

ANA MONICA ANDRIES, STEPHEN MORSE, RICHARD JAMES MURPHY, Jim Lynch, Bernardo Mota, Emma Woolliams (2021)Can Current Earth Observation Technologies Provide Useful Information on Soil Organic Carbon Stocks for Environmental Land Management Policy?, In: Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland)13(21)12074 MDPI

Earth Observation (EO) techniques could offer a more cost-effective and rapid approach for reliable monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of soil organic carbon (SOC). Here, we analyse the available published literature to assess whether it may be possible to estimate SOC using data from sensors mounted on satellites and airborne systems. This is complemented with research using a series of semi-structured interviews with experts in soil health and policy areas to understand the level of accuracy that is acceptable for MRV approaches for SOC. We also perform a cost-accuracy analysis of the approaches, including the use of EO techniques, for SOC assessment in the context of the new UK Environmental Land Management scheme. We summarise the state-of-the-art EO techniques for SOC assessment and identify 3 themes and 25 key suggestions and concerns for the MRV of SOC from the expert interviews. Notably, over three-quarters of the respondents considered that a ‘validation accuracy’ of 90% or better would be required from EO-based techniques to be acceptable as an effective system for the monitoring and reporting of SOC stocks. The cost-accuracy analysis revealed that a combination of EO technology and in situ sampling has the potential to offer a reliable, cost-effective approach to estimating SOC at a local scale (4 ha), although several challenges remain. We conclude by proposing an MRV framework for SOC that collates and integrates seven criteria for multiple data sources at the appropriate scales.

Ana Andries, Stephen Morse, James Lynch, E Woolliams, J Fonweban, Richard Murphy (2018)Translation of Remote Sensing data into Sustainable Development Indicators, In: Proceedings of ISDRS24 ISDR

In 2015, member countries of the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the Sustainable Development Summit in New York. These global goals have 169 targets and 232 indicators which are based on the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. Substantial challenges remain in obtaining data of the required quality, especially in developing countries, given the limited resources involved. One promising and innovative way of addressing this issue of data availability is to use Earth Observation (EO). This paper presents the results of research to analyse and optimise the potential of EO approaches to populate the SDG indicators and targets. We present a matrix of EO technologies with respect to the full set of current SDG indicators which shows the potential for direct or proxy calibrations across the span of the social, economic and environmental SDG indicators. We have focussed particularly on those SDG indicators covering the social and economic dimensions of sustainable development as these are relatively unexplored from an EO context. Results suggest that EO can make an important contribution towards populating the SDG indicators, but there is a spectrum from at one end the sole use of EO to the other end where the EO derived data have to be used in concert with data collected via non-EO means (surveys etc.). Complicating factors also include the lack of driving force and pressure indicators in the SDG framework and the use of ‘proxy’ indicators not part of the SDG framework but more amenable to EO-derived assessment. The next phase of the research will involve the presenting of these ideas to experts in the EO and indicator arenas for their assessment.

Additional publications