Prof. Balzter leads the UKRI Strategic Programme Coordination Team on “Landscape Decisions” (£10.5 million) and the Official Development Assistance (ODA) Programme in the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation. Prof. Balzter holds the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2011), Royal Geographical Society’s Cuthbert Peek Award ‘for advancing geographical knowledge of human impact through earth observation’ (2015) and Copernicus Masters Sustainable Living Award (2017). He holds a Dipl. Ing. agr. and Dr. agr. (PhD) from Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal papers, cited more than 3900 times (h-index=33; i10-index=70).
Prof. Balzter is alternate UK representative on the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Programme Board. He is leading the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service for the UK, which produces the CORINE land cover map, and is involved in collaborative research with a number of companies, e.g. in the UK Space Agency projects Forests 2020, EASOS and Colombia.
His research interests focus on Earth Observation applications to advance the quantitative understanding of climate change and land use change impacts on ecosystem services, and the effects of spatial-temporal patterns and processes. Prof. Balzter has extensive expertise in Earth observation and remote sensing of forests, land cover and lakes. His forest research includes estimating forest above-ground biomass from space, logging detection in near-real-time using cloud computing, fire monitoring, detecting forest conversion to oil palm plantations, and mapping tree disease outbreaks.
After his PhD, Prof. Balzter worked in the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Monks Wood, from 1998-2006, as Radar Remote Sensing Specialist, Head of the Biophysical Modelling Group and later Head of Section for Earth Observation. He was appointed to the Chair in Physical Geography at the University of Leicester in 2006 and served as Head of Department of Geography from 2008-2011.