Congratulations to the newly elected Directors

Congratulations to our new Board members who were elected by NESSE members. They will formally start their roles on the 1st September joining four continuing Board members – Jennie, Natalie, Cristiano and Norman

Chian Chan – Director of Sustainable Science Groups 2016-2018

Daniel Pleissner – Vice Director of Research 2016-17

Tabitha petchey

Tabitha Petchey – Executive Board Support 2016-18

Alexandra Hicken

Alexandra Hicken – Director of Marketing & Communications 2016-18

A Draft Framework for Understanding Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Interactions

A Draft Framework for Understanding Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Interactions (1)

Contributed by our Director of Research – Dr. Cristiano Varrone

Edited by: Dr. Lisa Kozycz 

Link for the conference

UN Livestream

On July 15, 2016, in New York, the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development will have its first global progress review. Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015, the agenda represents a new coherent way of thinking about how issues as diverse as poverty, education, and climate change fit together; it entwines economic, social, and environmental targets into 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as an indivisible whole. Implicit in the SDG logic is that the goals depend on each other — but no one has specified exactly how. International negotiations gloss over tricky trade-offs. Still, balancing interests and priorities is what policymakers do — and the need will surface when the goals are being implemented. If countries ignore the overlaps and simply start trying to tick off targets one by one, they risk perverse outcomes. If mutually reinforcing actions are taken and trade-offs minimized, the agenda will be able to deliver on its potential.

In the 2030 Agenda, the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of sustainable development are intertwined and cut across the entire framework. Indeed, while most of the 17 goals have a clear starting point in one of the three pillars, most goals actually span all three dimensions across their targets.

SDG 2 “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture” contains targets related to social (e.g. malnutrition and vulnerability), economic (e.g. agricultural productivity and financial services) and environmental dimensions (e.g. genetic diversity and climate resilience), exemplifying how there are significant interactions between goals. Staying with the food SDG example, a commonly discussed set of interactions lies in the nexus between food, water, and energy (2). For instance, water is required for energy production in cooling thermal power plants and generating hydropower; energy is required for water pumping and irrigation systems; and water is needed for irrigating agriculture. There are also competing resource requirements: for example, food production may compete with bioenergy production for the same land or water.

Articulating these linkages helps explain why the 2030 Agenda must indeed be treated as an indivisible whole. However, in that phrase there is a hidden presumption that the interactions between goals and targets are—for the most part— mutually supporting; in order to achieve one goal area you also need to address the others. At the same time, both the research community and policy makers have paid attention to the fact that there are probably as many goal conflicts and trade-offs as there are synergies.

While the scientific community has emphasized the need for a systems approach to sustainable development, scientists, like policy-makers, are now facing the challenge of turning the goals into reality.

The problem is that policymakers and planners operate in silos. Different ministries handle energy, agriculture, and health. Policymakers also lack tools to identify which interactions are the most important to tackle.

The 2030 Agenda focuses on the existence of trade-offs and synergies between sectors, and the need to map them out and identify ways to alleviate or remove trade-offs and maximize synergies. However, this area currently has a weak conceptual and scientific underpinning, and no common framework to analyze the nature and strengths of these interactions, and the extent to which they constrain or enable policy and action.

Seven possible types of interactions are rated, from the most positive (scoring +3) to the most negative (–3). These can be applied at any level — among goals and targets, to individual policies or to actions (see ‘The wins and losses en route to zero hunger’ (3)). For practical policy making, the process should start from a specific SDG — in line with a minister’s mandate — and map out, score, and qualify interactions in relation to the other 16 goals and their targets.

The framework consists of a typology of interactions, organized on a seven point ordinal scale, and should be considered as a starting point for building an evidence base to characterize the goal interactions in specific local, national or regional contexts. There is no formal platform for sharing such knowledge yet, but the International Council for Science (ICSU) is beginning to use the framework and populate it with empirical evidence.

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Beyond trade-offs and synergies – a seven-point scale of SDG interactions

Thinking carefully about interactions, and more specifically the range of different types of interactions (so not just “positive” or “negative”), is important because they may have very different implications in terms of implementation actions. Interactions between goals (such as SDGs and/or their targets) are presented on a seven-point ordinal scale, indicating the type of the interaction with other targets, and the extent to which the relationship is a positive or a negative one. Not all linkages between SDGs and targets will neatly fall into one of the seven points on the scale, but they provide a sufficiently wide range to classify most relationships.

The nature of the interactions can be determined at the level of targets, or at the level of instruments (used to reach a certain target). The choice depends on the purpose of the assessment: in some cases, we would like to know how, if a target is reached, it will directly affect another policy area. In other cases, we would like to know how, if a certain intervention or instrument is pursued, it will affect another policy area. An example is the use of certain taxation or incentives (= instrument) to improve energy efficiency (= target). The effect of the taxation on other Goals can be different from the effect of the enhanced energy efficiency. Whether to examine the relationship between targets or instruments, or (more likely) a combination, needs to be resolved on a case-by-case basis.

Key dimensions that shape the interactions

The impact and influence that a certain action can have on the others can depend on many parameters and local conditions. For instance, while some relationships are generic, others are highly context-dependent. As an example, bioenergy production is widely assumed to counteract food security through land competition. But in the Nordic region, bioenergy markets have reinforced the agricultural and forest production systems — offering new and more diversified market opportunities and increasing farmers’ and forest owners’ resilience (Geographical context-dependency). On the other hand, even if bioenergy in the Nordic countries is not considered to affect food security there, a joint change in their food export patterns to support national bioenergy production could still have an impact on food security globally.

In some cases, the negative nature of a relationship can be the result of poor governance (for instance actions taken without public involvement, consultation or compensation of local communities, etc).  Negative impacts on local communities are more likely to occur, or tend to be larger, when institutions and rights are weak (Governance-Dependency).

In some cases there is a real trade-off but there are technologies that when deployed will significantly mitigate these trade-offs, and even remove them – think for instance about new technological solutions that can mitigate harmful emissions – (Technology-Dependency). On the other hand, certain interactions may be restricted in time to the actual period of intervention. When the intervention ceases, the interaction stops (Reversibility). Other interactions are irreversible or take a very long time to “wear out” such that affected systems recover (i.e. species extinction, collapsed fisheries or changed states of eutrophication).

Certain interactions play out in real time, whereas others show significant time lags. For example, increases in fertilizer use will help to alleviate hunger today, but over-application could reduce our ability to produce food for future generations (Time sensitivity).

Finally, the interaction between two areas can be unidirectional or bidirectional, and symmetrical or asymmetrical. For example, electricity access is needed for powering clinics and hospitals for the delivery of health care services, whereas health care services in clinics and hospitals are not needed for providing electricity access (Directionality).

Other forms of coherence relationships

Another type of coherence relationship exists across jurisdictions. We can for instance consider to what extent the pursuit of objectives in one country has international repercussions or affects the abilities of another country to pursue its objectives, which leads to cross-jurisdictional concerns that need to be addressed through appropriate indicators. For instance, it is often the case that while new policies and goals can be easily introduced, institutional capacities for implementation are not aligned with the new policy designs and are also much more difficult to develop. There may be a mismatch between the goals and targets established at the global level, and the agenda as interpreted at the national level and acted upon at the local level. Finally, coherence relationships should be considered along the implementation continuum: from the policy objective, through the instruments and measures decided, to the actual implementation practice on the ground, which often deviates substantially from the original policy intentions.

Analytical questions for case study research into SDG interactions

The framework outlined above is intended to form the basis of a report presenting the analytical framework and a set of examples from different SDG areas testing and applying the framework. The report seeks to provide conceptual tools as well as evidence-based recommendations to policymakers on the management of interdependencies through context-specific analysis of synergies and trade-offs around specific policy areas. The areas that have been identified initially to road-test the framework, are food and agriculture, health, and energy.

For partnership development enquiries, please contact:

Anne-Sophie Stevance, Science Officer at the International Council for Science (anne-sophie.stevance@icsu.org).

Check back soon to see what NESSE is doing about SDG! 

References:

1 Måns Nilsson, Dave Griggs,Martin Visbeck and Claudia Ringler. (June 2016). Working paper “A draft framework for understanding SDG interactions.” Paris: International Council for Science (ICSU).

2 Weitz, N., Nilsson, M. and Davis. M. 2014. A Nexus Approach to the Post-2015 Agenda: Formulating Integrated Water, Energy, and Food SDGs. SAIS Review of International Affairs, 34 (2):37-50. doi:10.1353/sais.2014.0022

3 Måns Nilsson, Dave Griggs and Martin Visbeck. Map the interactions between Sustainable Development Goals. Nature;Vol 534:320-322. 16 June 2016.

 

Executive Elections!

As members of our mailing list have heard, NESSE is electing a new executive board! The NESSE Executive Board is responsible for setting out the vision and priorities of the organization, developing new projects, and working closely with our partners to help all of our members. With the NESSE Board elections coming up, we asked the current Executive Director, Jennie Dodson, about setting up NESSE, the experience of being involved over the past year, and what’s in store for the Executive Board in 2016-2017.

Apply to stand for one of the NESSE Board positions by 25th June. Voting will be open for all early-career NESSE  members from 28th June – 8th July.

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Why did you set up NESSE?

NESSE started from a spark of an idea at a Green Chemistry & Engineering Summer School in 2013. All of us attending shared a similar ethos and aim, developing green science & technology, but we were dispersed across the world. We wanted to stay in touch and continue to learn from each other and exchange ideas. NESSE formed and expanded from that initial vision to be an early-career movement for sustainable science. What drives me is the desire to see the rapid move towards a prosperous, sustainable future for all. By spreading positive examples, enabling early-career scientists to develop new ideas and connections across disciplines and gain the knowledge and skills to build sustainable science into their research and careers I hope that NESSE will play a role in getting to that future.

What have you gained from being involved with NESSE over the past two years?

Building a global organisation from scratch has been a challenging but incredible experience. I work with a wonderful, diverse group of young scientists from across the world developing innovative solutions to sustainability challenges. Through NESSE, I’ve developed skills in budgeting, marketing, events co-ordination, writing and organisation management. It’s also been a great way to network and make connections in professional societies and companies. Two years ago I couldn’t imagine I would be co-ordinating with other organisations to influence how the International Council for Science supports early-career scientists. These connections, skills and knowledge will be useful whatever my future career.

What would you say to people interested in standing for the NESSE Board?

Do it! We have a critical but exciting couple of years ahead. Over the past couple of years we’ve laid the foundations (see our year in photos from 2015), but the next year will be vital for getting more funding, promoting the organisation and engaging new partners. If you have a passion for building a sustainable future and for connecting early-career scientists this is an ideal opportunity to have an impact. NESSE is entirely dependent on the energy and vision of the volunteers involved, so if you have an idea you can make that happen through NESSE. We want to get a wider mix of people on the Board from different disciplines, countries and backgrounds so if you’re interested get in touch, find out more and apply!

If a Board level commitment is a bit too much but someone wants to get more involved with NESSE what can they do?

There are many ways to be involved with NESSE. Sharing information, jobs and ideas on our Facebook group, Facebook page and LinkedIn group is a great way to connect with other members. Each of the Board members also co-ordinates a team of people who help to make NESSE vibrant and successful, from writing for the blog to helping run events. These are much more flexible in terms of time and length of commitment so if you want to get involved with NESSE and develop your skills, this is a great opportunity. Check out the volunteers page for more details. You could also set-up your own local NESSE group, you can join our online course later in the year to share ideas with other people starting groups.

Apply to stand for one of the NESSE Board positions by 25th June. Voting will be open for all early-career NESSE  members from 28th June – 5th July.

If you have any questions email Jennie – jennie.dodson@sustainablescientists.org

Electing Director of Marketing & Communications

NESSE is electing a new executive board! The NESSE Executive Board is responsible for setting out the vision and priorities of the organization, developing new projects, and working closely with our partners to help all of our members. With the NESSE Board elections coming up, we asked 2015-2016 Communications and Marketing  Director, Natalie O’Neil, about her experience in being involved with NESSE.

Apply to stand for one of the NESSE Board positions by 25th June. Voting will be open for all early-career NESSE members from 28th June – 5th July.

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What does the role of Communications Director involve?

I am responsible for all of NESSE’s online communications, this includes the blog, website and social media (facebook & twitter). I update our social media sites with events and content at least 3-4 times a week, daily when time and demand requires. During our #sustainablesuperhero campaign I was actively marketing NESSE to the wider world, with the goal of expanding our network on social media and beyond. Recruiting and editing for the blog is also a major component of this position, currently we have volunteers who are keen to help with these duties.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your involvement with NESSE?

Having to read and share content outside of my current research field has been really interesting and rewarding. As well as getting to watch our social media followers grow over the past year and learning how to fit vital information in a limited number of characters. I’ve also gotten to meet a lot of really cool people as well as be apart of an international focused on sustainable science! Being a NESSE board member is a great experience and will give you connections throughout the world.

How much time does this role take?

The Communications Director role is great because it’s extremely flexible. I generally need to put in between 2 and 10 hours a week to keep everything running smoothly, but I get to decide when to do that—a little bit in the evenings after dinner, or all at once on a Sunday afternoon, or any other time that suits me.

What are the most useful skills for a Communications Director?

Writing and editing are crucial as well as time management. Savvy social media skills would be helpful but this can also be learned on the go.  If you have the desire to share the great information that NESSE has to offer with as many early career scientists and engineers as possible and the community at large then this position is for you!

Apply to stand for one of the NESSE Board positions by 25th June. Voting will be open for all early-career NESSE members from 28th June – 8th July.

Questions about the Communications Director role? Feel free to e-mail communication@sustainablescientists.org.

Electing Director of Sustainable Science Groups

NESSE is electing a new executive board! The NESSE Executive Board is responsible for setting out the vision and priorities of the organization, developing new projects, and working closely with our partners to help all of our members. With the NESSE Board elections coming up, we asked the current Director of Sustainable Science Groups, Laura Hoch, about her experience in being involved with NESSE over the past two years.

Apply to stand for one of the NESSE Board positions by 25th June. Voting will be open for all early-career NESSE members from 28th June-8th July and we’ll be organising activities for you to get to know the Board and people standing for election.

What does the role of Director of Sustainable Science Groups involve?

My job has been to help NESSE members engage with their local communities about sustainable science through starting local groups. I’ve helped put together resources on how to get started and have been running focused short courses on that topic over the past year (sign up here if you are interested!).

Laura Hoch, our current Director of Sustainable Science Groups, is an American loving living in Toronto while she gets her Ph.D.

Laura Hoch, our current Director of Sustainable Science Groups, is an American loving living in Toronto while she gets her Ph.D.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your involvement with NESSE?

I love getting to meet all of the really awesome people in the sustainable science community. I feel like being a part of NESSE helps keep me engaged and aware of what is happening. I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool things because of NESSE like presenting in my first webinar, running a few networking events, and going to conferences like the International Sustainable Green Chemistry (ISGC) Conference in France…

How much time does this role take?

Being the Director of Sustainable Science Groups can take as much time as you want it to. There is no shortage of things to do. It really depends on how involved you want to be. I’d say maybe a few hours a week at minimum, though things tend to get a bit busier before big events like the ISGC conference.

What are the most useful skills for a Director of Sustainable Science Groups?

Organization and enthusiasm. I think one the most important things is to remember that the whole point of this role is to help NESSE members to engage with their communities. Because every university and location is different, no two NESSE groups are the same. Trying to keep involved and engaged with such a diverse set of people definitely requires organization! I am constantly inspired by all of the great initiatives started by NESSE members, so it’s easy to want to stay engaged and help them out as best I can.

Apply to stand for one of the NESSE Board positions by 25th June. Voting will be open for all early-career NESSE members from 28th June – 8th July.

NESSE’s Year in Photos: 2015

For a small organisation we’ve packed a punch in our first full year of activities. Take a look back at the NESSE highlights of 2015.

ISGC 2015 Blog 2015Bioeconomy 2015 Webinars 2015 Groups 2015 Board 2015 Growth 2015Superheroes 2015

Make getting involved in sustainable science and NESSE your resolution for 2016!

Look out for all our new volunteering opportunities that we will be launching with our new website in the next few weeks. If you wanted to start now check out the NESSE team, email the person in the area your interested in and if you can’t find what you’re interested in email info@sustainablescientists.org and tell us your passion and how we can support you.

 

What does the global Climate Change Agreement mean for sustainable scientists?

Our Executive Director, Jennie Dodson, provides a personal perspective and overview on the COP 21 Climate Change agreement and what it means for us as young leaders of sustainable science.

On Saturday a video popped onto my facebook timeline. Hundreds of people in a conference room were standing, clapping, cheering, hugging and whooping. This isn’t what you normally expect from grey suited diplomats at a United Nations conference. But this wasn’t just any conference, and not just any moment. This was when 190 countries came together, overcame their differences and agreed a global process to tackle climate change.

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All smiles as the agreement is unanimously accepted. Credit:UN Photo/Mark Carten

For me this felt personal. Six years ago at the global climate change meeting in Copenhagen (COP) I was initially jubilant, ambitious and hopeful. Then, as I joined one of the largest peaceful marches for climate change in history, was trapped by riot police and saw the COP discussions break down, I wept. Over the following years it felt like the prospect of a true global agreement on climate change was slipping through our fingers as yearly global meetings came and went with recrimination, breakdowns and increasing nationalization, introspection and the focus on economic woes.

So last Saturday, as an agreement was reached that I had lost hope of seeing, I paused and celebrated. In the current climate the diplomatic effort to converge opinions is momentous. And, more than that, it is a step forward from previous ambitions. It takes on board current scientific evidence that we should limit global warming to 1.5 °C (although weakly), it provides a process to review, update and assess national climate plans and targets and confirms the commitment to funding for developing countries.

But…it is far from enough. The agreement provides a common vision but the path is still uncertain. The national climate plans so far submitted will mean we face a temperature rise of 2.7 °C. This would result in large swaths of the planet being uninhabitable and the poorest and most marginal communities being most affected. And worse than that, the pledges are just that, intentions of action rather than legally binding commitments…with no commitment to phase out fossil fuels, and insufficient financing for developing countries. So, this is only the start of the process. The vision on paper must be turned into reality and we must cut emissions greater and faster than the current commitments.

This is why an organization such as NESSE is vital. In the next 35 years or less we need to turn around the economies of the world. This is the working lifetime of me and you, the generation that makes up NESSE. We have not been trained for this. We have been trained for the world system of cheap energy, fossil fuels, continuous economic growth, rising consumption and resources. Yet we need to find a way to overcome what we have been trained for and develop solutions to global challenges that are sustainable and equitable. We created NESSE because we cannot wait for our universities, academic systems, policies and industrial leadership to change. We must use our internal and collective knowledge, energy and vision to do it ourselves.

So what does this mean for us as young leaders in sustainable science? Here are six areas that I think our community of young sustainable science leaders needs to work on to help make sure the vision in this agreement becomes reality.

  1. Support new career paths in sustainable science and technology. This agreement demonstrates that there will be increasing numbers of careers and funding in sustainable innovation and technology transfer. Sustainable Science careers are the jobs of the future in academic, industry and government and we need to support people to forge these new career paths.
  2. All scientists need to be trained in sustainability. We all need a broader vision and understanding of the economic, social and environmental impacts of the solutions we develop. We can no longer view science as an activity separate from social, environmental and ethical implications and this needs to be integrated into our training.
  3. We have solutions. We need to demonstrate and communicate to the world that we have solutions that can create a positive, prosperous and sustainable future for us all. To make these reality we need to call for the long-term funding and policies to rapidly develop and transfer these solutions into society.
  4. Call for stronger targets. We cannot remain isolated in our labs if we want to see real change. We need to be prepared to work with policy makers, NGOs and industry to call for the policies and actions needed to revolutionize technologies – to phase out fossil fuels, price carbon and integrate assessment of environmental impacts.
  5. We must remain open, flexible and questioning. The development of new technologies in the past has shown that what we think may be sustainable can have unintended consequences. So we must continuously question and debate new ideas, bringing in voices from all perspectives.
  6. We need to inform our communities. We cannot remain quiet, we need to educate our communities about the solutions we are working on and also inform them about how they can use their economic voice to spark a change as well. We and our community will be the ones that ensure this global commitment is held and that a true impact is made. Our voices are powerful when we stand together and use them.

Last Saturday the world turned a corner and committed to a collective process to tackle climate change. Whether we reach a brighter future depends on all of us. For me, the creative and inspirational members of NESSE represent that hope.

Meet Our Fabulous New Board!

Thank you to everyone who got involved and voted in our elections. We’ve got a fantastic new Executive Board who will be leading the development and activities for all our members over the coming year. Read more about each Board member, their background and ambitions for NESSE by clicking on their photo.

Get more involved in NESSE by emails our Board members. Each of them leads a team of enthusiastic members who are helping run events, report from conferences, writing articles, fundraising and developing new groups. If you’re not quite sure where your interest fits in email Jennie or info@sustainablescientists.org

We’ll be sharing with you very soon all our exciting plans for the year

 

Executive Director – Dr Jennifer Dodson, University of York – jennie.dodson@sustainablescientists.org

Finance Director – Julian Silverman, City College of New York – julian.silverman@sustainablescientists.org

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Director of Communications and Marketing – Natalie O’Neil, University at Albany – natalie.oneil@sustainablescientists.org

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Director of Membership Activities – Dr Norman Spencer, UCN Charlotte –norman.spencer@sustainablescientists.org

Cristiano Varrone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Director of Research – Dr Cristiano Varrone, Denmark Technical University – cristiano.varrone@sustainablescientists.org

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Director of Sustainable Science Groups – Laura Hoch, University of Toronto – laura.hoch@sustainablescientists.org

NESSE News: Electing Director of Sustainable Science Groups

NESSE is electing a new executive board! The NESSE Executive Board is responsible for setting out the vision and priorities of the organization, developing new projects, and working closely with our partners to help all of our members. With the NESSE Board elections coming up, we asked the current Director of Sustainable Science Groups, Laura Hoch, about her experience in being involved with NESSE over the past year.

Apply to stand for one of the NESSE Board positions by 10th July. Voting will be open for all early-career NESSE members from 7th-14th August.

What does the role of Director of Sustainable Science Groups involve?

My job is to help NESSE members engage with their local communities about sustainable science through starting local groups. I’ve helped put together resources on how to get started and will be running a focused short course on that topic at the beginning of August (sign up here if you are interested!).

Laura Hoch, our current Director of Sustainable Science Groups, is an American loving living in Toronto while she gets her Ph.D.

Laura Hoch, our current Director of Sustainable Science Groups, is an American loving living in Toronto while she gets her Ph.D.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your involvement with NESSE?

I love getting to meet all of the really awesome people in the sustainable science community. I feel like being a part of NESSE helps keep me engaged and aware of what is happening. I’ve gotten to do some pretty cool things because of NESSE like present in my first webinar, run a few networking events, and go to conferences like the ISCG in France…

How much time does this role take?

Being the Director of Sustainable Science Groups can take as much time as you want it to. There is no shortage of things to do. It really depends on how involved you want to be. I’d say maybe a few hours a week at most, though things tend to get a bit busier before big events like the ISGC conference.

What are the most useful skills for a Director of Sustainable Science Groups?

Organization and enthusiasm. I think one the most important things is to remember that the whole point of this role is to help NESSE members to engage with their communities. Because every school and location is different, no two NESSE groups are the same. Trying to keep involved and engaged with such a diverse set of people definitely requires organization! I am constantly inspired by all of the great initiatives started by NESSE members, so it’s easy to want to stay engaged and help them out as best I can.

Apply to stand for one of the NESSE Board positions by 10th July. Voting will be open for all early-career NESSE members from 7th-14th August.

NESSE News: Electing Director of Communications

NESSE is electing a new executive board! The NESSE Executive Board is responsible for setting out the vision and priorities of the organization, developing new projects, and working closely with our partners to help all of our members. With the NESSE Board elections coming up, we asked the current Communications Director, Anna Ivanova, about her experience in being involved with NESSE over the past year.

Apply to stand for one of the NESSE Board positions by 10th July. Voting will be open for all early-career NESSE members from 7th-14th August.

Anna Ivanova is NESSE's current Director of Communications. When she's not blogging or delegating, she plays in the snow in Boston.

Anna Ivanova is NESSE’s current Director of Communications. When she’s not blogging or delegating, she plays in the snow in Boston.

What does the role of Communications Director involve?

It’s my job to curate, edit, and publicize online content for NESSE. I’m responsible for determining what sort of content would be interesting to our members, then going out and finding people to write that content. The biggest part is the blog, but I’m also in charge of keeping the Twitter and Facebook pages active.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your involvement with NESSE?

I’ve gotten to meet a lot of really cool people! This is probably the answer most of our exec board would give, but it’s really true. Not only have I gotten to work with amazing early-career researchers around the world, but I’ve also interviewed inspirational sustainable scientists who are established in their fields. If you’ve ever wished you could reach out to big names in green science and ask them frankly about their careers, NESSE’s communications director might be the role for you!

How much time does this role take?

The Communications Director role is great because it’s extremely flexible. I generally need to put in between 2 and 10 hours a week to keep everything running smoothly, but I get to decide when to do that—a little bit in the evenings after dinner, or all at once on a Sunday afternoon, or any other time that suits me. I can also plan ahead to take a vacation by preparing blog posts in advance and scheduling automated posts on all our social media.

What are the most useful skills for a Communications Director?

Communication (obviously), but also delegation! The more time you put into recruiting writers and tweeters, the less you have to do yourself. Also, delegating has the huge benefit of bringing different perspectives to our content. Right now we have a lot of green chemistry content, but I’m trying to branch out to materials science, engineering, etc. and get writers from those disciplines so we can diversify our blog content.

Writing and editing are crucial, for obvious reasons. This role will also give you experience in managing people—it can be a challenge to stay on deadline with volunteer blog authors in different timezones around the world. That’s a skill that can be learned on the go.

Apply to stand for one of the NESSE Board positions by 10th July. Voting will be open for all early-career NESSE members from 7th-14th August.

Questions about the Communications Director role? Feel free to e-mail anna.ivanova@sustainablescientists.org.