Three Imperial College London academics have been presented with Wolfson Research Merit Awards in recognition of their outstanding scientific achievement. The awards announced by the Royal Society provide five years worth of funding to UK based scientists as an accolade to their exceptional and ground-breaking research.

This year 21 awards have been announced across the UK and three of those awards go to researchers based in the College’s Faculty of Natural Science. They are: Professor Miguel Araújo from the Department of Life Sciences, Dr Pierre Degond from the Department of Mathematics and Professor Jon Lloyd from the Centre for Population Biology.

Jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), this prestigious scheme aims to provide UK universities with five years of additional support to enable them to attract or to retain respected scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.

The newly appointed award holders are working on a wide variety of projects. Miguel Araújo will use the award to undertake research in the intersections of biogeography, community ecology, and global change biology. Specifically, he aims to improve our ability to predict the effects of ongoing environmental changes on biodiversity.

“Simple questions often require complex answers”, says Prof. Araújo.

“Although consensus exists that the distributions of species are determined by a combination of biotic interactions, physiological tolerances, and movement, debate still exists regarding the relative importance of each of these factors. I am particularly interested in understanding how biotic interactions affect distributions of species across scales of resolution and extent, and understand how they might affect the ability of species and communities to respond to climate changes. To this end I plan to develop an integrative research programme involving development of new theoretical models of species distributions and coexistence and the testing of these models with microcosm and mesocosm experiments”.