Elizabeth LAW, PhD in Environmental Science and Applied Economics (Australia)

Elizabeth Law is developing new methods to evaluate the environmental, economic and social trade-offs evident in existing environmental policies and in alternative future policy avenues.


Research focus: understanding unavoidable trade-offs between environment, economics and ethics in bio-diverse production landscapes

The past decade has seen increasing interest in using the concept of ecosystem services within land management and policy. Production landscapes currently face increasing pressure to deliver on multiple results, including the provision of food, fibre, biofuels and water; the conservation of remaining habitat for flora and fauna; and the mitigation of the impacts of climate change. This results in a complex land use problem, involving many alternative management options across biophysically and socially heterogeneous landscapes.

Law´s research aims to explore how production landscapes can be sustainably managed; to both capitalise on and enhance their multifunctional capacity; and to provide outcomes that are effective, efficient and equitable for all stakeholders. She tackles this problem from a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach that includes case studies across three continents (Australia, Indonesia and Canada) and combines recent developments in causal inference, conservation science, ethics and multi-criteria optimisation.

After obtaining her degrees in environmental science at the University of Queensland, Law started her postdoctoral research, developing new methods for evaluating the environmental, economic and social trade-offs evident in existing environmental policies. She actively collaborates with several international research groups, including that of Humboldt University. Law aims for exceptional research that contributes to the effective, efficient and ethically sustainable management of landscapes, and she wants to continue developing her collaborative and interdisciplinary research track through her current and subsequent positions.

The jury especially valued Law’s scientific and personal activity, participating in numerous conferences and workshops, internationally and across disciplines. The jury believes that participating at the Green Talents forum will help her to renew and consolidate existing links with the German and European research community and to explore the options for a longer postdoctoral appointment.