Professor Joanna Clark (1978-2022)
12 September 2022
We are very sad to announce the death of our dear friend and colleague Joanna Clark, Professor of Environmental Science at the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading.
Joanna had a rare lung condition, and was with her family at a hospice in Berkshire when she died peacefully on Thursday 4 August 2022. Joanna is survived by her husband, Lindsay, and son, Peter.
Donations can be made in Joanna’s memory to Sue Ryder Care and a tribute page has been set up.
Flood risk management pioneer
Joanna’s background was in Environmental Science and she held degrees from Durham and Kings College, as well as a PhD from the University of Leeds.
Joanna joined the University of Reading as a Lecturer in Soil Carbon in 2010. She made rapid progress, becoming Associate Professor in Environmental Science in 2016 before being promoted to Professor three years later.
Joanna’s research focussed on regulating services provided by carbon and water cycles in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. She contributed significant advances to understanding of the environmental change drivers of increasing dissolved organic carbon concentrations in surface water and the sensitivity of blanket peatlands to climate change.
During her 12 years at Reading, Joanna’s research became increasingly focused on flood risk management. She directed the successful LANDWISE Natural Flood Management project, involving a range of institutions including the Environment Agency, National Trust and Forestry Commission.
This impactful project continues to explore pioneering natural measures to reduce flooding risk, such as tree planting and crop choices, placing the value of diverse stakeholder expertise surrounding environmental solutions at its heart. In 2021 her team carried out a study on the effectiveness of leaky dams in combatting flooding risk on the Englefield Estate, on the River Pang near Reading.
Joanna also founded and directed the Loddon Observatory, a platform for collaborative work between charities, businesses and researchers to help address challenges around flooding, water quality and sustainable agriculture within the River Loddon catchment area.
It was through this initiative that the commitment Joanna brought to her research was also evidenced in her teaching. The popular Loddon Catchment Consultants module gave undergraduate students real-world experience collaborating with local organisations and delivering environmental solutions.
Her work has progressed scientific understanding of the interactions between carbon and water cycles and sustainable and natural solutions to flooding and other environmental issues. It will continue to underpin research in this area and the implementation of action and policies on the growing issue of flood management.
Joanna has left an amazing legacy through her scientific contributions as well as the generation of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers she has mentored.
Celebration of Life event
Joanna’s family are inviting work colleagues to join them at Joanna’s Celebration of Life event at Shiplake College (RG9 4BW) on Sunday 25 September 2022, from 1.30pm-4pm. Anyone who would like to attend should fill out this online form. Please note numbers are limited to 100.
Details of a University of Reading campus-based memorial event will be available in due course.
Support is available from the University for employees and students affected by this news. Employees can find information on the CiC (Employee Assistance Programme) website (Login: URlogin and Password: wellbeing). Students can get support through the Student Services team. For other colleagues and friends, support is available from a range of charities, including: https://www.cruse.org.uk.