The Distinguished Professor award is the highest academic honour Macquarie can bestow on a member of our academic community, recognising professors who have made an outstanding contribution to their field of scholarship or discipline and to the University.
Over the past 20 years Professor Lesley Hughes has established a national and international reputation as a pioneer in the study of climate change impacts on biodiversity. The strength of her research has been to integrate a diversity of methods, from small-scale field and laboratory manipulations, to computer modelling of potential impacts on hundreds of species. This research has had a substantial influence on reshaping conservation policy in Australia and internationally. Professor Hughes’ publications have been cited nearly 10,000 times, and one of her papers in the journal Nature is the most highly cited paper from Macquarie University. Her work has made a significant contribution to our ranking as well above world average in Environmental Sciences and Ecological Applications.
Professor Hughes research is an outstanding example of end user engagement and impact: as a lead author in the IPCC Assessment Reports (a joint recipient of the 2007 Noble Peace Prize), and in international activities through the International Union for the Conservation of Nature; the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity; and the World Commission on Protected Areas. Nationally, she has held leadership positions such as Chair of the NSW Scientific Committee, a Director of WWF Australia, and a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists. Her passion for communicating science to the public and policy makers has been recognised in roles such as a Commissioner on the federal Climate Commission, Councillor with the Climate Council of Australia, and as the winner of the 2014 Eureka Prize in the category “Promoting Understanding of Australian Science Research”. Professor Hughes is an exemplar to many of us as a committed and engaged researcher and a highly deserving Distinguished Professor.