Job profile: PhD Researcher
Rebecca is a PhD researcher at the Eden Project. She is conducting research on 'Exploring the (non-economic) impact of education for sustainability'.
Why are you doing this particular PhD?
Education and sustainability have always been at the heart of everything I do and is the epitome of what is important to me, the planet and our future. I had previously studied a BSc in Business Analytics and an MSc in Environmental Psychology as well as having spent many years working for a charity as an engagement officer, so this felt like the perfect next step. I was so excited to come across this fully funded project and be awarded the scholarship to undertake the research. What sold it for me was that it was at the Eden Project, an organisation that I had admired from afar ever since my first visit, aged nine, when it was being built.
Decribe the best bits about your role
I have enjoyed spending lots of time with different groups at the Eden Project learning about how they make a difference for the visitors by engaging with Education for Sustainability. From the restaurants that provide vegan meals to the storytellers who engage with visitors about global sustainability challenges to the Eden International team who are taking Eden around the world. I get to spend time with really inspiring people who are wanting to engage with others in order to work towards a better future.
Describe a typical week in your role
The general format of doing a three-year PhD is: creating the research project in the first year, conducting the research in the second year and writing up the research in the third year. I live in Bristol so in a typical week I could either be working remotely in Bristol or I might be spending it at the Eden Project. Variety is the spice of life! As an example of a week, I would spend the morning reading some journal articles and writing up part of my thesis, maybe in the afternoon I would plan a conference presentation and then I might have some meetings organised with fellow PhD researchers or academics. If I'm in Cornwall, I'll head out for a walk or a surf come the evening.
What has been the best moment so far?
The best moments so far have been starting to conduct the research with the visitors and staff and getting the opportunity to support and teach the students studying the Bachelors and Masters Degrees. They hold the key to the importance of the Eden Project and I have really enjoyed spending time with them and hearing all of their stories. I have also been interviewing people from all walks of life including solicitors, artists, teachers and even someone who works in the fishing industry. The interviews have sometimes almost brought me to tears. No day is the same and I have loved every moment so far.