Professor Marine Biology
Richard leads the International Marine Litter Research Unit at the University of Plymouth. Much of Richard's work over the last 20 years has focused on researching marine litter with numerous publications and significant research funding on this topic. He was a co-author of the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive text on marine litter. He has been a member of numerous international working groups on marine litter including GESAMP, NCEAS, UNEP, UNIRP.
In 2014 Richard presented his research to the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, at his Our Ocean meeting in Washington. He has also presented to OECD nations and G7 nations. Recent work by his team directly informed the UK Government decision to introduce legislation on the use of microplastics in cosmetics. He has recently been working with G7 nations on the monitoring of marine litter.
In 2017 Thompson received the Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation for his work on plastics; and was recognised in the New Year Honours List, with an OBE for services to Marine Science.