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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Southampton alumnus elected Fellow of British Academy

Published: 15 July 2016
Alumnus Kelvyn Jones
Kelvyn Jones, Professor of Human Quantitative Geography at the University of Bristol

A Southampton alumnus has received the UK’s highest accolade for social scientists – being elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

Kelvyn Jones, who is now a Professor of Human Quantitative Geography at the University of Bristol, is the first alumnus from Geography and Environment at Southampton to be awarded such a prestigious honour in the department’s 100-year history.

The British Academy is the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences focussing on the study of peoples, cultures and societies, past, present and future. Each year, it elects up to 42 outstanding UK-based scholars to its Fellowship who have achieved academic distinction reflected in scholarly research activity and publication.

Professor Steve Darby, Head of Geography and Environment at Southampton, said: “We are delighted to hear that our former alumnus Professor Kelvyn Jones has been named as a Fellow of the British Academy. It is an exceptional achievement and is hugely deserved. The award recognises Kelvyn’s pioneering contributions to quantitative social science methodology, health and social geography, and follows his receipt of the Royal Geographical Society’s Murchison Award and his membership of two successive REF/RAE panels.”

Kelvyn completed his BSC Geography degree with First Class Honours at Southampton in 1975. He went on to study for his PhD under the supervision of Professor Neil Wrigley FBA and his work helped foster important links with social statistics that remain a feature of Southampton’s social science to this day.

His most notable contributions include a series of paper that introduced multilevel modelling to a geography and social epidemiology audience.

Kelvyn’s pioneering research ranks him as one of the world’s leading human geographers. Recent work includes successfully forecasting the EU referendum results for the areas on which they are announced and a quantitative analysis to find the best Formula 1 driver of all time, taking account of team performance and different racing conditions.

On receiving the award he said: “I am delighted to receive this honour – it is fantastic to be recognised for what you love doing. The department of Geography and the wider university at Southampton were instrumental in what I have achieved; it was there that the foundations were laid for all my subsequent academic work.

“I saw what inspirational teaching was about. I learnt how to reason and argue, how to model under conditions of uncertainty, and how to programme computers in the days of cards and tape.

“I benefited hugely from a balanced course in human and physical geography for understanding natural and social systems undergoing change and from being given plenty of space for self-learning and intellectual exploration – high quality libraries are vital!

“In my six years in the department I gained friends and colleagues for life – thanks.”

Kelvyn continues to collaborate with Southampton geographers and his colleague Graham Moon, Professor of Spatial Analysis in Human Geography, said: “I am pleased and proud to have him as a close colleague, mentor and friend. Kelvyn has been a central figure in the rise to prominence of multilevel modelling in geography and the quantitative social sciences.

“Not only has he conducted ground-breaking, world-class research showing the complexity of place effects, he has also been instrumental in ensuring that a generation of social scientists across the globe have a thorough understanding of multilevel modelling through his inspirational and extraordinarily effective teaching.”






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