Development & Alumni Relations Office 


28 November 2020

Jennifer McKinley, Professor of Geology and Mathematical Geoscience in the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen's, has been elected to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).

Professor McKinley’s research focuses on the application of spatial analysis techniques, including geostatistics, compositional data analysis and Geographical Information Science (GIS), to soil geochemistry, environmental and criminal forensics, peatland monitoring, human health and the environment, slope instability, geohazards, airborne geophysics and weathering studies.

President of the International Association for Mathematical Geosciences (2016-20), she was awarded Chartered Fellowship of the Geological Society of London in 2009 – a Fellowship that is awarded competitively – and was a Council member from 2015-18.

Jennifer first graduated from Queen’s in 1984 with a BSc in Geology, before taking a PGCE (1985) and later a PhD in Geology (2001) at the University. For two years after gaining her PGCE she taught at Regent House Grammar School, in Newtownards, County Down before moving into the world of 3rd level academe. She was an Associate Lecturer at the Open University in Belfast (1995-98) before joining Queen’s School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (GAP), first as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow (2001-04), then Lecturer (2004-10) and Senior Lecturer (2010-16). In 2016, she switched to the School of Natural and Built Environment as Reader, becoming a Professor earlier this year.  

She is currently Vice Chair of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Geosciences and Geographical Sciences committee and Communications Officer for the IUGS-IFG (Initiative on Forensic Geology).

She has authored over 100 scientific publications – including peer-reviewed journal articles – and conference presentations, co-authored a book (Geoforensics), peer-reviewed book chapters and technical reports. 

With 16 PhD supervisions (10 to completion) as primary supervisor and as co-supervisor she has supervised postdoctoral fellows and has enjoyed interdisciplinary collaboration and strong partnership working with multiple stakeholders.

Throughout her career Professor McKinley has taken an active role in promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in academia. She has been actively involved in Athena SWAN for several years, including acting as School Champion, and is a member of Athena SWAN award assessment panels.

The IUGS has 121 national members, represents over a million geoscientists, and is one of the world’s largest scientific organisations. In partnership with UNESCO, it encourages international co-operation and participation in the Earth sciences in relation to human welfare and is a member of the International Science Council.

Professor McKinley was elected at an Extraordinary Session of the IUGS-IGC Council at the end of October. The new President of the IUGS is Professor John Ludden, former President of the British Geological Survey, and the new Vice President is Professor Hassina Mouri from South Africa. Professor McKinley has worked closely with both Professor Ludden who has been to Queen’s many times and Professor Mouri who is a friend and colleague from the University of Johannesburg.

For general enquiries about this story, or to submit items of graduate news, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen's University Belfast.

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