Isabel Cotton

Isabel Cotton


I am an environmental social scientist interested in both the environmental and human dimensions of climate adaptation. I trained as an environmental scientist, and hold a masters degree in Climate Change and Environmental Policy, both from the University of Leeds. I decided to specialise due to my grave concern of, and research interest in, the climate crisis. Through my master’s dissertation, I have developed a strong interest in researching how climate just adaptation can be achieved and governed in the UK. My master’s dissertation evaluated the extent to which current flood adaptation policy in the Glasgow City Region incorporates the principles of environmental justice.

Since graduating in 2017, I worked as a Consultant at the environmental research consultancy Collingwood Environmental Planning, and at the Zoological Society of London as Evidence and Evaluation Officer for the #OneLess campaign against marine plastic pollution. I also have a background in energy and climate policy and sustainability research from previous work experience in the academic and higher education sectors.

Isabel Cotton

Geosciences, Resources and Environmental Risk

University of East Anglia, School of International Development

PhD title: Building resilience in coastal governance: ethics and justice in responsible innovation

My PhD project is a joint SeNSS-ARIES collaborative studentship project on building resilience in coastal governance, based at the University of East Anglia. Coastal zones are some of the most vulnerable areas to impacts of climate change in the UK, and this project looks at the social and environmental implications of the Bacton and Walcott sandscaping scheme, which has recently been introduced on the North Norfolk Coast to manage the coastal environment. This is in collaboration with North Norfolk District Council.

This PhD project will bring together natural science data, such as modelling of geomorphological change, to underpin understandings of social change and implications for environmental justice, which this studentship focuses on.


    Hudson, H., Smith, M., White, O., Vittle, K., Haswell-Walls, F. and Cotton, I. 2019. Mid-term evaluation of Our Bright Future. Online: The Wildlife Trust.

    Giesekam, J. Densley-Tingley, D. and Cotton, I. 2018. Aligning carbon targets for construction with (inter)national climate change mitigation commitments. Energy and Buildings. 165, pp.106-117

    Phillips, P., Twigger-Ross, C., Cotton, I., Gianferrara, E., Orr, P., Cherchi, F., Wyles, K., Boschoff, J. and Haydon, P. 2018. The value of bathing waters and the influence of bathing water quality: Final Research Report. For the Scottish Government. Edinburgh: The Scottish Government.

    Phillips, P.M., Kenter, J.O., Orr, P., Ainscough, J., Greenhill, L., Cotton, I., Murtagh, E., and Mellor, P. 2018. Delivery of public dialogue process to aid the development of the Clyde Regional Marine Plan (CRMP): Final Dialogue Report. Report to the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership. London: Collingwood Environmental Planning


2016, Scholarship winner, School of Earth and Environment (covered my Masters tuition fees at the University of Leeds)

Team award – Member of the University of Leeds Sustainability Service which won the 2015 Yorkshire Post Environment Awards ‘Climate Change’ category. The Award was won for the on campus climate change campaign ‘Climate Hubs’, which we launched and managed.