Dr Virginia Nicolás-Perea

Research Development Manager (CLCR)vnp2.jpg

Contact Details

  • Tel: 0116 223 1018
  • Email: vnp2@le.ac.uk
  • Office: Bennett Building G05 (CLCR)


I joined the Department of Geography in February 2011 as the Project Manager for an EU funded project called GIONET (GMES Initial Operations – Network for Earth Observation Research Training). GIONET is a Marie Curie funded project that aims to establish the first of a kind European Centre of Excellence for Earth Observation Research Training. The project is a partnership of leading Universities, research institutes and private companies from across Europe aiming to cultivate a community of early stage researchers in the areas of optical and radar remote sensing skilled for the emerging GMES (Global Monitoring Environment and Security) land monitoring services during the GMES Initial Operations period (2011-2013) and beyond.

I now work with Professor Heiko Balzter in the new Centre for Landscape and Climate Research as the Research Development Manager.

Research Interests

My primary research focuses around anthropogenic effects on the natural environment, with special interest on interactions between atmospheric change, land cover and the local environment. An important part of the climate system is the interactions between the atmosphere, the oceans, and the land surface. Through complex processes and feedback, changes to the land surface and oceans can influence the atmosphere. I am interested in how land use and land cover changes can directly influence the atmosphere through biophysical and biogeochemical processes as well as understanding how these interactions impact air quality and climate. Any future collaboration would aim to fill in the gaps of current knowledge.

vnp Aircraft
Virginia was one of the scientists on board the NERC-FAAM aircraft sampling trace gases while flying over the rainforest in Borneo.


I first joined the University of Leicester in 2008 as a Post-doctoral Research Associate in the OP3 Project (Oxidant and Particle Photochemical Processes above a Southeast Asian Tropical Rainforest) based in the Atmospheric Chemistry Research Group. The project aimed to quantify the emissions of trace gases from tropical forest, and study their contribution to the formation of oxidants and secondary particulate matter in a nearly undisturbed South-East Asian tropical environment. The project combined ground-based and airborne field measurements of surface fluxes and atmospheric composition of reactive trace gases and particles with modelling studies of chemical processes in a protected forest area of Sabah, East Malaysia. These experiences have enabled me to widen my view on environmental research and make strategic networks with fellow colleagues as well as the public and private sectors. I have also worked as an External Projects planning coordinator, managing projects and using her skills to write successful research proposals.

vnp Oil Palm Map
This map was created combining Landsat data with the data collected on board the NERC-FAAM aircraft (photo below), shows the NO2 concentrations over the oil palm plantations are significantly higher.

I completed my PhD at the Natural Resources Institute. My studies were part of the Interreg III/ ATTMA project funded by the EU. It focussed on the dispersion of particulate matter within the South East of England. My thesis was a multi-disciplinary study combining local topology, human and physical geography, meteorological factors, and PM (particulate matter) analysis.  I also completed a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Sciences at the University of Greenwich. This included a final year project which was part of Greater London’s first reviewed on the Congestion Charge in London, it was during this project that I first developed my interest in urban pollution and its effects on humans and the environment.

Originally from Spain, I enjoy working on inter-disciplinary research projects that promote scientific knowledge transfer and a multi-cultural society.

My ultimate goal in academia would be to contribute to the education of students (or in my current position PhD students) to be top-notch scientists, critical thinkers, and lifelong learners in keeping our planet healthy and sustainable.

vnp Sunrise

External Activities

  • Associate member of the Royal Society of Meteorology
  • Associate member of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Association for Research Managers and Administrators
  • Association for University Research and Industry Links

PhD Supervision

Stephanie Palmer - “Satellite remote sensing of water quality (chlorophyll and suspended sediment) using MODIS and ship-mounted LIDAR in Lake Balaton (Hungary)“.

Matthew Ofwono - “Satellite Derived Information for Drought Detection and Estimation of the Water Balance”.

Research areas for PhD Supervision

Climate Change Impacts on the Environment, Climate Change Adaptation, Environmental issues, Sustainable development, Land-Atmosphere Interactions, impacts of land-use change in Climate Change (both in rural and urban environment), Greenhouse counting, Urban and trans-boundary pollution, Trace gases, and PM10 dispersion.

Enquiries: If you are interested in studying for a PhD in one of these research areas, please make informal enquiries via geogPhD@le.ac.uk

Most recent Publications

MacKenzie, A. R.,  Langford, B.,  Lee, J. D., Robinson, N., Mizstal, P., Nicolas-Perea, V., Philips, G., Monks, P. S., Heard, D. E.,  Coe, H., Yap, XX., Nemitz, E., Fowler, D., Pyle, J. A., and Hewitt, C.N. (2011) The atmospheric chemistry of trace gases and particulate matter emitted by different land uses in Borneo. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 2011 366, 3177-3195.

Hewitt, CN; Nicolas-Perea, V (plus 53 other authors) (2010). Overview: oxidant and particle photochemical processes above a south-east Asian tropical rainforest (the OP3 project): introduction, rationale, location characteristics and tools, Atmos. Chem. Phys, 10, pp.169-199. ISSN 1680-7324.

Hewitt, CN; MacKenzie, AR; Di Carlo, P; Di Marco, CF; Dorsey, JR; Evans, M; Fowler, D; Gallagher, MW; Hopkins, JR; Jones, CE; Langford, B; Lee, JD; Lewis, AC; Lim, SF; McQuaid, J; Misztal, P; Moller, SJ; Monks, PS; Nemitz, E; Nicolas-Perea, V; Oram, DE; Owen, SM; Phillips, GJ; Pugh, TAM; Pyle, JA; Reeves, CE; Ryder, J; Siong, J; Skiba, U; Stewart, DJ (2009) Nitrogen management is essential to prevent tropical oil palm plantations from causing ground-level ozone pollution , P NATL ACAD SCI USA, 106, pp.18447-18451. ISSN 0027-8424.

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School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Bennett Building
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T: 0116 252 3933

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