Nikolaos Toumasis

Cranfield University


Securing Lawtonian Landscape Resilience


  • Prof. Ron Corstanje
  • Prof. Jim Harris

PhD Summary

Lawton (2010) reviewed England’s biodiversity and ecological networks and concluded that biodiversity sites did not comprise a coherent and resilient ecological network, in the face of a changing climate and threats to biodiversity. We need to make our network of sites bigger, better and more joined up and plan effectively to avoid further degradation. The Governments 25 year environment plan sets goals for improving the environment, aiming to achieve a growing and resilient network richer in biodiversity. This project answers the question, how do we deliver these goals by means of green infrastructure investments informed by robust science. I feel that this project: “Securing Lawtonian Landscape Resilience” is the best of its kind, combining a unique research angle with a training programme that will meet my professional needs.

Previous activity

Prior to my PhD I have graduated in 2006 from Technical School Aviation (Military Academy) from the Air Training Command. In 2007, I gained degree of Civil Aviation Authority for the Certification Program Introductory Training Air Traffic Controllers with a specialization from Air Force as an Air Traffic Controller. In 2012 I gained Bachelor of Science Faculty of the Department of Physics from University of Ioannina (Greece). My MBA degree is in Human Resource Management and Leadership from Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Furthermore my MBA Dissertation was entitled: ” The role of Human Resource Management in preventing occupational stress in Air Traffic Controllers in the European Union (Period 2010-2014)”. I obtained a MSc degree in Atmospheric Sciences and the Environment and my dissertation was entitled: ” Biometeorology of Airports” measuring of pressure, wind velocity, temperature and humidity, outgoing long wavelength radiation, absorbed by atmosphere( Earths Radiation Budget), fluid mechanics  and Climate Change-impacts and mitigation. My Training (F119-MAT) Postgraduate Research(PhD) at Heriot-Watt University, Department of Maths, concerned about developing techniques of Data Assimilation in numerical weather prediction and climate change modelling, basic regression analysis, variational approaches, Kalman filtering, Bayesian inference approach, formulate and implement the Optimal Interpolation, 3-DVAR, 4-DVAR approaches, Lorentz. My dissertation was about: “Data assimilation implementation on Quasigeostrophic fluid model”, using Matlab for research problems, selection and interpretation of the prior and posterior distributions.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

I have always been interested in discovering how things work in nature, but as an undergraduate opened my eyes to the excitement and wider benefit of science. I had the chance to do some original research on my Masters and that’s inspired me to take up the challenge of a PhD.  I decided to undertake Doctoral Research for a number of key-reasons. It presents an opportunity to perform scientific research for an extended time in an area which excites me and that I consider to be a great importance. The focus on skill development will allow me to further enhance my ability to tackle big questions in the research career I want to pursue. Furthermore will build on my previous teaching experience but at a higher academic level. With acquiescence, I attended some meteorology, climatology and air quality management courses. These courses broadened my view of techniques of climatological and meteorological strategy. Moreover, I attended many academic activities, such as lectures and debates, which served to further my interest in environment, business and economics. Equally important, I had the opportunity to raise challenging questions to internationally known scholars. I feel  that I ‘m a good written communicator. My existing academic and professional work demonstrates an ability to put forward ideas clearly and concisely. I think this will help me manage the weight of information my PhD research needs to cover and the challenge of producing an effective thesis. The main inspirational figure for me in the science and the natural world is Sir David Attenborough.

Why did you choose CENTA?

The knowledge, the number of students it has trained, themes and quality of the research career it has produced. Growing up in Athens/Greece first sparked my interest in the environment. CENTA place a focus on the development of key skills, interests outside of those traditionally offered within Doctoral Training programmes. This as well as the institutional collaboration will provide me with the ability and knowledge to better communicate science and engage a range of different audiences. As a researcher keen on explaining the value of environmental studies to the public, a CENTA studentship is the perfect for me to develop into the research scientist that I want to become and will provide me with a foundation of skills, that I think are so incredibly valuable for my career. This opportunity is going to be very rewarding and will be beneficial for my future ambitions to enter academia and contribute to a very important research field of environment, green infrastructure and biodiversity. I want to pursue a research career and teach at the University level. The development of a strong core skill set through a CENTA studentship will best enable me to do so. I have dreams of pursuing this field, hopefully I will get the necessary tools to grow my passion into something big. I am very open to whatever opportunities the future may hold, especially in being flexible and adaptable.