I am NERC's Director of Corporate Affairs and lead on public engagement with NERC science and innovation, as well as communications, strategy, sustainability, evidence and stakeholder engagement.
NERC’s public engagement strategy places high priority on engaging with complex issues, where our science meets public debate about values and progress e.g. climate change, future energy needs. I’ve enjoyed leading this work and bringing to bear my skills and leadership to bring about a step change in NERC’s approach to public engagement and communications overall. Since 2014, at NERC we have funded the engaging environments programme, delivered an annual showcase event (featuring research ships, planes and science exhibitions in London, the North West and at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh). I am also very proud of our ASDC partnership - Operation Earth - across 11 Science Centres. I’ve had the privilege of leading our work in these areas and more, and seen how this engagement has inspired the next generation of scientists and their families with environmental science. A key part of this has been to recognise the need to work in partnership, listen and learn from experienced experts and to support our scientists and researchers to deliver world-class public engagement.
Before joining NERC in July 2014, I led on external affairs, consumer engagement and communications during the successful start-up of the Legal Ombudsman, a national organisation established to reform legal consumer complaints. I started out as a lawyer, working in the courts, with MPs and volunteering in the charity sector before joining the public service in Australia. I left Australia in 2003, moving to Bangladesh, where I worked first with a national disability rights organisation working with local communities to develop their communications and advocacy and then a national women lawyers’ association on a domestic violence prevention project.
My reason for wishing to join the board of ASDC is quite simple: I want to help bring inspiring science to broader and new audiences, and demonstrate in compelling ways why science is so important to all our everyday lives.
I’d like to offer my skills to help work together to really place Science Centres and science at the forefront of public imagination and conversation. I like to champion new ideas and new ways of engagement. I am very proud, for instance, of NERC’s digital campaign to name our polar ship, the RRS Sir David Attenborough, and the goodwill for ‘Boaty McBoatface’ and our science that it generated. My skills are in influencing and engaging, building partnerships and collaborations to deliver results. This includes working with policymakers as well as business, scientists and public engagement specialists. I would bring strong networks across the environmental science community and personal and professional links across the UK and beyond.
I would very much like to help the ASDC build its standing and profile, and achieve wider national recognition for the contribution that Science Centres and everyone who works within them makes to our culture, education and community generally.