Dr Belcher received the award for science communications. She was recognised for her study of the Earth's geological past and the impact of natural fires on plant and animal life – a subject she has brought to wider attention through regular appearances on television and in the media. The researcher was nominated for her work as a Marie Curie fellow at University College Dublin, Ireland (2007-2010) and at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Exeter, UK (2010-2012).
Dr Belcher (34) is a senior lecturer in Earth system science at the University of Exeter, UK. She studies ancient natural fires and their consequences for plant and animal life. Her research seeks to understand how global change events, from instantaneous asteroid impacts to global warming occurring over centuries, have influenced the Earth's system.
Dr Belcher's work was selected for the effectiveness of its outreach, its innovative and creative approach and its excellent coverage in mainstream media. She has taken part in popular TV programmes and radio shows and has been featured in numerous articles, including in The New York Times, The Irish Times and Nature, as well as contributing popular science articles herself. Dr Belcher's website was praised for its creativity in science communication.