While studying for my BSc in Geography at Newcastle University, I developed an interest in natural hazards and how society will manage them within an increasingly warming world. These curiosities drew me to study an MSc in Climate Change and Environmental Policy at the University of Leeds where I became fascinated by the application of nature-based solutions to address complex climatic challenges. This became the focus of my dissertation research, exploring the role of ‘social learning networks’ in supporting a paradigm shift for nature-based flood risk management in the UK.
From my results, it became clear that this paradigm shift requires a breakdown of pre-existing mentalities, from ‘working against water’ to ‘working with water’, thus challenging our perceptions of risk. This has inspired me to further my findings through a PhD to understand how the public’s attitude to change plays a critical role in the effective delivery of nature-based solutions.
Following my graduation, I worked as a research assistant with the Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme at the University of Leeds. I have worked on projects which aim to translate existing environmental science to address complex catchment challenges in Yorkshire, including flooding, drought and environmental pollution. This experience has taught me the importance of generating tangible and practical solutions from research, something I will keep in mind throughout my PhD at the University of East Anglia and beyond.