Institute for Global Health


Rebecca Parrish

Rebecca's thesis title is "An investigation into the impacts of climate change on population migration patterns and associated health and social indicators."

Her primary supervisor is Dr Tim Colbourn.

To get in touch with Rebecca, please email her at rebecca.parrish.16@ucl.ac.uk.

About Rebecca

Rebecca (Becky) is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) as part of the NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). As a part of this partnership, Becky works across both UCL and Brunel University's Department of Life Sciences. She also has formal collaborators from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and other research, NGO and politically-orientated institutions. She has a keen interest in science for policy, having undertaken an internship with the UN Migration Agency and spoken at various conferences and events on this subject.

Becky has a BSc in Physics and Musical Performance, a joint honours degree from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music. She also has an MSc in Environmental Technologies from Imperial College London. She works part-time with 'The Brilliant Club' educational outreach charity and is a regular speaker at school career's talks in order to support school children, particularly from under-represented demographics achieve careers in STEM.

Thesis summary

Climate change is undoubtedly one of the great challenges of this century; driving increases in temperature, changes in rainfall patterns, increases in extreme weather events and environmental degradation. Whilst it is widely recognised that such impacts may drive human population displacements in vulnerable areas, the ability to quantify such impacts remains low. Further compounding the challenge is the multifactorial nature of migration, which is also impacted by a range of social, economic, demographic and political determinants. Understanding how this system of determinants interacts as well as how climate drivers act on the system and the migration outcomes is critical for informing intervention strategies in order to maintain and improve public health and to divine appropriate migration and climate change adaptation policies.

This PhD aims to build a complex systems mathematical model which can be used to explore the relationships between climate change and migration and other factors such as food security and access to public health infrastructure. 

Such modelling can be used to improve our understanding of the risks of climate change and may enable identification of vulnerable populations under future climate change scenarios. This information can be used to inform and empower policy-makers to help make evidence-based decisions regarding healthcare, migration and climate change adaptation policy.