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Research impact: Dr Dannielle Green

Head shot of Anglia Ruskin lecturer, Dannielle Green, stood outside with fields in the background

Our submission to the University of the Year panel focused on the difference we make in the region and communities where we're based – but also acknowledged the broader impact of our world-leading research.

Dr Dannielle Green is working with UK, European and international organisations to raise awareness of plastic pollution and change environmental policy.

Understanding the impact of single-use plastics

Dr Dannielle Green is Associate Professor in Ecology at ARU, and director of the Applied Ecology Research Group. She is an ecologist with international recognition in several areas related to understanding and mitigating anthropogenic impacts on natural ecosystems.

Dannielle's work with single-use plastics and microplastics has generated significant global impact. She was the first to test the impact of biodegradable and conventional microplastics on a community level, and the affect of cigarette butts on plant growth. This work was developed as a Research Excellence Framework (REF) case study, Reducing the environmental impact of single use plastics.

Influencing environmental policy

As a strong advocate of the use of research data and evidence to influence policy, Dannielle has:

  • served as an expert panellist at European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki, advising on the potential risks of replacing conventional microbeads with biodegradable ones and helping to improve the stringency of testing required in the EU
  • seen her research used to bring in a ban on the sale of products containing microbeads in 2016, forming part of the UK Government's 25 Year Environment Plan, and reducing the effect of these harmful pieces of plastics on the marine environment
  • authored a 2021 UN Environment Programme report on marine plastic pollution that helped influenced global policy and helped lead to the global plastics treaty that is currently under negotiation among >175 countries
  • acted as scientific advisor to DP World London, helping them to reduce their single-use plastics
  • used her research on the environmental impact of cigarette butts to influence policymakers at a smoking-related litter roundtable meeting in 2020, helping to introduce voluntary Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for the tobacco industry. She is now working to make EPR mandatory and ensure cigarette filters are counted in single-use plastics legislation and are subject to more rigorous regulation
  • contributed to a recent DEFRA inquiry on single-use plastics, which was cited in the executive summary released by DEFRA in January 2023. Dannielle is working to help influence decision-making further in this area.

Raising public awareness

Dannielle was named in the top 2% of the world’s most influential researchers in the Highly Cited Researchers list 2022 (Institute for Scientific Information at Clarivate).

She continues to publish in high impact factor journals, and has written book chapters on anthropogenic pollution. As an effective science communicator, she also does a lot of media work and recently assisted with Keep Britain Tidy's anti-littering campaign, in her role as the charity's scientific adviser.

Dannielle is passionate about tackling complex environmental issues, and collaborates widely, often linking traditional ecological methods with innovative approaches from other fields including biogeochemistry, ecophysiology and molecular biology.

For Dannielle, the ultimate aim of her research is to provide scientifically sound recommendations for environmental management – influencing policy and protecting marine ecosystems.

Read more about research at ARU

In May 2022 the impact of our research was recognised in the Research Excellence Framework, with every subject area having research rated as ‘world-leading’. This best-ever outcome for ARU followed the award of The Queen’s Anniversary Prize, which acknowledged the globally important work of our Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research.