Lucas Joppa is a scientist in the Computational Ecology and Environmental Sciences Group at Microsoft Research where he heads their Conservation Science Research Unit - combining work on his three main interests of Science, Policy, and Tools & Technology.
His research ranges from quantifying the impacts of conservation actions to unraveling the complexities of species interactions and mapping where species are being discovered - and going extinct. He embraces the challenge of predicting outcomes for ecological communities under an increasingly uncertain environment, and unite robust ecological theory, social considerations, and innovative distributed data collection systems to achieve effective environmental conservation.
He leads the group's efforts at the interface between scientific research and policy implementation - applying their science and tools to help achieve international environmental goals. This is primarily through responsibilities as the scientific lead for Microsoft's partnership with the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species where he serves on the IUCN Red List Committee and chair the Red List Informatics Working Group. He holds a formal appointment as the 'Advisor on Science and Innovation' to the United Nations Environmental Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC) and serve as an advisor to the Global Environmental Facility as they formulate their ongoing biodiversity funding strategy. He also serves on the Science Advisory Committee for Natural England, the UK government's advisor on the natural environment.
He jointly created and lead the Technology for Nature Unit, an initiative between Microsoft Research, the Zoological Society of London, and departments at University College London with a mission to rapidly scale up the global conservation response through technology innovations. He has a strong interest in distributed biodiversity data collection, serving as an advisor to the European Biodiversity Observation Network, and the citizen science platform iNaturalist.org.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and after graduation served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malawi. He completed his PhD in Ecology from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. He is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Kent's Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology (DICE) and an Honorary Conservation Fellow at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). In 2013, he received the Society for Conservation Biology's 'Early Career Award'.
Prior to joining Microsoft Research, he was the co-founder of EarthAudit LLC, a company specialising in providing predictive information about the planet.