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Professor Simon Potts

Simon Potts profile picture

Areas of interest

  • Understanding the relationships between land use, biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Food security: role of biodiversity and ecosystem services in food production
  • Developing evidence-based adaptation and mitigation options for policy and management applications
  • Conservation of pollinators and sustainable management of pollination services
  • Environmental drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem services, including: land use change, climate change, agrochemicals, invasive species and socio-economic factors
  • Quantifying the economic and socio-cultural value of pollination and other ecosystem services
  • Ecology and management of agro-ecosystems for the conservation of biodiversity

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD Students:

  • Connor Russell (EU & UoR) Measuring the economic value of pollinators to European food systems.
  • Chris Wyver (Waitrose BBSRC CTP, Worldwide Fruit Limited) Quantifying and mitigating spatio-temporal risks to pollination services caused by climate change.
  • Kiera Dymond (Waitrose BBSRC CTP, Greencell) Sustainable avocado production: Challenges, solutions and the role of biodiversity.
  • Hollie Blaydes (NERC ENVISION DTP) Solar parks: refuges for pollinators and boosting pollination services.
  • Harriet Gold (FoodBioSystems DTP) Optimizing UK landscapes for agroecosystem resilience.
  • Joris Rockx, (UoR) Precision Apiculture: enhancing the health and effectiveness of managed honeybees for soft fruit production.
  • Rosy Scholes (FoodBioSystems DTP) Integrating trees into arable systems to improve soil health & provide resilience to climate change.
  • Ellen Knight (NERC Scenarios DTP) Does pollinator diversity moderate ecosystem function in agroforestry systems?

Completed PhD Students (since 2015):

  • Hannah McGrath (Waitrose BBSRC CTP, Huntapac) Designer field margins for multiple benefits to production.
  • Alice Haughan (NERC QMEE CDT - ZSL) Predicting the impacts of multiple interacting drivers on a global biodiversity hotspot.
  • Kelly Jowett (Reading-Rothamsted Alliance) Modelling landscape quality and configuration effects on natural enemy communities and the provision of pest regulation services.
  • Duncan Coston (Lawes Trust) Quantifying the impacts of the neonicotinoid restriction on oilseed rape pest control, pollination and productivity.
  • Sam Leigh (BBSRC DTP - LIBERATION) Harnessing multiple benefits from novel crop rotations: increased yield, pest regulation, soil fertility and environmental quality.
  • Erika Degani (BBSRC CASE - Syngenta) Novel crop rotations to enhance multiple ecosystem services underpinning production of winter wheat and oilseed rape.
  • Mark Ashby (BBSRC DTP) Enhancing the benefits to biodiversity and ecosystem service delivery from uncropped areas in farms.
  • Sean Webber (BBSRC CASE - Sainsbury's) Managing Ecosystem Services to Promote Economic Benefits and Food Security.
  • Maria Zhang (EC FP7) Valuing biological pest control services.
  • Dimitrios Bormpoudakis (EC FP7), The coherence and ecological sufficiency of European protected area networks.
  • Louise Sutherland (EC FP7), Developing novel Systematic Conservation Planning tools.
  • Charalambos Christodoulou (Cyprus government, part-time), Assessing the effectiveness of Natura 2000 sites in Cyprus.
  • Megan Mckerchar (World Wide Fruit), Enhancing pollination and pest regulation services by supplementing floral resources.
  • Jacob Bishop (BBSRC DTG), Yield stability and climate change: the role of pollinators.
  • Chloe Hardman (BBSRC DTG), The effectiveness of agri-environmental management for biodiversity and ecosystem services in the wider countryside.
  • Victoria Wickens (EC FP7), Understanding and managing the flow of pollination services between protected areas and agroecosystems.
  • Jennifer Wickens (self-funded), Understanding and managing the flow of pest regulation services between protected areas and agroecosystems.
  • Alexa Varah (Reading RETF and Organic Research Centre), Can agroforestry reconcile conflicting demands for productivity, biodiversity conservation and delivery of ecosystem services?
  • Elena Cini (EU H2020) New tools for bee health.
  • Konstantinos Tsiolis (Waitrose BBSRC CTP, Worldwide Fruit Limited) Bee nesting resources: the missing element of sustainable crop pollination.
  • Nick Buck (Waitrose BBSRC CTP, BerryWorld) Impacts of novel control strategies for Spotted Winged Drosophila on ecosystem services and crop production in raspberries.

Research centres and groups

Centre for Agri-Environmental Research

Biodiversity, Crops and Agro-ecosystems Research Division

Centre for Food Security

Soil Research at Reading
Research Group:

Research projects

Current Projects:

  • Safeguard: Safeguarding European wild pollinators
  • DRUID: Drivers and Repercussions of UK Insect Declines (NERC)
  • EU-PoMS: Design of the European Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (EU DG ENV)
  • EuropaBON: Europa Biodiversity Observation Network: integrating data streams to support policy (EU H2020)
  • PoshBee: Pan-European Assessment, Monitoring, and Mitigation of Stressors on the Health of Bees (EC H2020)
  • Showcase: Showcasing synergies between agriculture, biodiversity and ecosystem services to help farmers capitalising on native biodiversity (EU H2020)
  • SMOOPS: Sustainable Management of Orchard Pollination Services (BBSRC/NERC, Syngenta, Avalon and Worldwide Fruit)
  • SPRING: Supporting Pollinator Recovery through Indicators and Monitoring (DG ENV)
  • ORBIT: Developing resources for European bee inventory and taxonomy (DG ENV)
  • BBSRC Waitrose Collaborative Training Partnership (Reading lead)
  • PMRP Pollinator Monitoring and Research Partnership (Defra, JNCC, the Welsh Government, Scottish Government and project partners)
  • Tropical: Translating Research Opportunities to enhance Pollination benefits to economically Important Crops And improve Livelihoods (GCRF)
  • SuperFarm: Sustainable farming through effective pollination and pest regulation in India (GCRF)
  • RestPoll: Restoring Pollinator habitats across European agricultural landscapes based on multi-actor participatory approaches (Horizon EU)
  • WildPosh: Pan European assessment, monitoring, and mitigation of chemical stressors on the health of wild pollinators (Horizon EU)
  • MAMBOModern Approaches to the Monitoring of Biodiversity (Horizon EU)
  • STINGScience and Technology for Pollinating Insect0073
  • Nature positive finance (NERC)

Recently completed Projects:

  • STEP: Status and Trends of European Pollinators (Coordinator, EU Framework 7)
  • LIBERATION - Linking farmland biodiversity to ecosystem services for effective ecological intensification (EU FP7)
  • SCALES: Securing the Conservation of biodiversity across Administrative Levels and spatial, temporal, and Ecological Scales (EU Framework 7)
  • SUPER-B - Sustainable Pollination in Europe (EU COST Action)
  • NPPMF - National Pollinator and Pollination Service Monitoring Framework (Defra)
  • Crop pollination: Sustainable Pollination services for UK Crops (Insect Pollinator Initiative project, RCUK)
  • AgriLand: Linking agriculture and land use change to pollinator populations (Insect Pollinator Initiative project, RCUK)
  • Urban Pollinators: Urban Pollinators: their ecology and conservation (Insect Pollinator Initiative project, RCUK)
  • Landscape food webs: structure and function (NERC)
  • Closing the gap: bigger, healthier, and better-connected hedgerows (Green Recovery Challenge Fund)
  • Resilient Pollination: Modelling Landscapes for Resilient Pollination Services (BBSRC Global Food Security)
  • Optimising multifunctional land-use decisions: combining environmental, economic and social models for pollinators (NERC)
  • Economic benefits of pollination to global food systems: Evidence and knowledge gaps (NERC)


Professor Simon Potts' other projects can be found here

Professional Activities:


  • UN Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services assessment of Pollinators, pollination and food production: Co-chair
  • Chair of the European Pollinators Initiative expert group to develop an EU-wide pollinator monitoring scheme
  • Defra: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Pollinator Advisory Steering Group
  • Defra: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Sustainable Intensification Platform Research Advisory Group
  • European Food Standards Authority (ESFA): Advisor
  • European Commission, DG Environment (ENV), DG Research and Innovation (RTD), DG Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI), and DG Health and Consumers (SANCO): Advisor

  • European Environment Agency (EEA): Advisor

  • European Parliament: Advisor
  • Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO): Advisor
  • Convention for Biological Diversity International Pollinator Initiative (IPI): Advisor
  • POST: UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology: Advisor
  • House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee on Insects and Insecticides: Expert witness
  • House of Commons Science, Innovation and Technology Committee inquiry into Insect declines and food security: Expert witness

- Business:

  • John Spaden Lewis Trust for Natural Sciences: Trustee
  • Waitrose Agronomy Group: Advisor
  • Innocent Drinks: Agricultural Sustainability Strategy Advisory Board
  • Pangaia: Chair of Scientific Advisory Board

  • Oracle for Research: Collaborator

  • Co-Op Pollinator Strategy: Advisor

- Research:

  • SUPER-B: Sustainable pollination in Europe: joint research on bees and other pollinators: Management Committee
  • Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2 'Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture, Marine and Maritime Research, and the Bio-economy': Advisory Group



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