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Walker welcomes Dr Elena Tarnavsky!

Friday, February 22, 2019

We are delighted to welcome Dr Elena Tarnavsky to the Walker Institute. As a senior research fellow, she will be working on the NIMFRU project.

She completed a Masters at San Diego State University in Geography with a focus in airborne imaging for accurate detection of land use changes, before undertaking a PhD at King’s College London focused on satellite-based hydrological modelling for water resource management in north and west Africa. 

Dr Tarnavsky understands the importance of accurately communicating physical science information for better-informed decision-making. When asked about the methods she uses to translates her research into decision-relevant information and policy, she said:

‘For me, it is a two-way process, less of a top-down advice from scientists to decision-makers and more of a knowledge exchange process. Any applied science I've engaged with has always resulted in co-producing knowledge with the stakeholders I am working with and something inspired from their needs.’

Dr Tarnavsky has a wide range of experience, having worked on the pan-African extension and development of operational applications of the rainfall monitoring programme TAMSAT for the European Commission's Monitoring of Agricultural ResourceS (MARS) platform (2009-2016). More recently, as an independent research scientist leading work programmes on two Climate-KIC projects with the World Food Programme and Imperial College London, she has adapted the drought model used by the Famine Early Warning Systems NETwork (FEWS NET) community and other stakeholders to navigate the challenges of different data inputs and crop growing season definitions for improved drought risk assessment as part of weather index-based insurance for smallholder farmers. 

Her research has provided stakeholders with operational data and tools for monitoring agricultural potential and everything that falls around it such as livelihoods, coping strategies, and resilience.

Elena had this to say of her new role:

‘I am enthusiastic to join the Walker Institute not only to put my research into practice, crossing disciplines and creating meaningful impacts in areas of high socio-economic importance, but also because it's a great opportunity to engage in learning and co-development of applied science for climate-smart solutions together with collaborators and decision-makers within and beyond academia.’