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Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in Environmental Law, University College Dublin

Ray Purdy is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Law, UCD (2022 -). Prior to this he held academic research positions at: University of Oxford (1995-1996, 2006-2022); Imperial College (1996-2003); and University College London (2000-2014).

His key area of academic expertise is in environmental law where has developed a substantial personal research profile of international standing on a wide variety of research subjects – particularly environmental compliance, legislative analysis and drafting, environmental monitoring and enforcement, climate change). He is probably best well known for his research on the use of space technologies as evidence and their capacity to monitor and enforce laws (particularly environmental ones). He has conducted funded research in this field for the European Commission, UK Space Agency, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council and European Space Agency. He has written guidance reports on this subject for: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), DG ENV European Commission, International Network on Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) and the EU LIFE+ programme.

In 2014 after nearly 20 years of frustration of research not having the impact on the world that he hoped, he set up an academic spin off company called Air & Space Evidence, with a emeritus Professor of Earth Observation from University College London, and a former intelligence services analyst. This company, internationally recognized as the 'World's First Space Detective Agency," seeks to help move commercial remote sensing from the black world of intelligence uses by governments to the white world of commerce (and public good). It undertakes many different types of investigations and research using archived (and tasked) Earth observation data and designs environmental monitoring programmes using satellite imagery (and algorithms). The company was named by the leading US business and innovation magazine, Fast Company, as one their 12 World Changing Company Ideas for 2015. It won the Earth Observation Product of the Year Award 2017 (from the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies).


  • –present
    Senior Research Fellow in Environmental Law, UCL