Helen Lacey

Helen Lacey – Standing for the position of Director of Communications and Marketing 

Picture_H_LaceyCurrent Career Status: Graduate Student PhD

Institution: Imperial College London

Location: United Kingdom

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Background: I am a PhD student in the department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London. The focus of my work is to better constrain the representation and role of carbonate cementation in fault zones. Cementation, whereby ions carried in groundwater chemically precipitate to form new crystalline material between sedimentary grains, can induce significant changes in the strength and behaviour of fault zones, which has vast implications from earthquake recurrence intervals to carbon sequestration potential. My studies link the geochemistry of cements with the mechanical effects on a fault in a multidisciplinary approach.

I have been lucky enough to spend time abroad on fieldwork, conferences and working at other laboratories as well as hiking in my own time. I love travelling, walking and experiencing new cultures and cuisines. I have travelled across Europe, the USA, Japan and China. This summer, I will be travelling across central China, through Guilin, Chengdu and the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park. I also enjoy cycling, reading and catching up on documentaries.

Statement of Interest: 

I would like to express my enthusiasm in applying to be Director of Communications and Marketing for NESSE. As a PhD student with leadership, social media and policy experience, I believe I am a strong candidate for the position.

I am currently undertaking a PhD at Imperial College which spans several disciplines (geology, physics, maths and chemistry). Combined with my undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences, my experience in a number of fields (including marine engineering, disaster risk reduction, the oil industry and robotics) and my collaborations with other institutions worldwide (in the USA, Japan and China), I have realised the importance of an interdisciplinary approach for making impact and the need for sustainable approaches. I want to further the objective of collaborative and sustainable approaches to science, and believe that I would be able to work towards this as Director of Communications and Marketing for NESSE.

Since May 2016, I have been interim manager of the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group (APPCCG). This involves close and frequent engagement with the Board, MPs, peers and members (Directors of organisations including universities, industry and NGOs), and recruiting new members. Thus, I believe I would be successful in working closely with partners and members with NESSE and recruiting.  I have also assisted with the management of the groups’ budget and financial plans, developed the strategy for the group, organised events and managed multiple email accounts. I have been writing the weekly newsletter for the APPCCG and Carbon Connect, event briefings and producing promotional materials for the groups, as managing the groups’ Twitter feeds (@APPCCG and @CarbonConnectUK), and website. During the American Geophysical Union Conference in San Francisco 2016, I tweeted from the NESSE account. This work has given me a great deal of experience to be able to oversee NESSE’s online communications, including the blog, website and social media. In order to lead the marketing team and recruit members, I would draw from my experience of managing the APPCCG.

My time on the London Environmental Challenge, where my team and I won the competition for our pitch on low carbon growth and greening London (https://goo.gl/Of1uqo) inspired me to undertake a secondment with Policy Connect, in order to push science communication and science policy to achieve sustainability goals. My main role has been writing the ‘Sustainable priorities for Brexit’ report, to inform MPs on sustainability policy considerations post-Brexit, drawing from evidence obtained from our series of Parliamentary events on energy and climate change policy. In this report, which will be launched in Parliament on 12th July, I have concluded that we must ensure that the UK’s environmental commitments are upheld so as to (1) improve the quality of life and wellbeing of UK citizens and (2) ensure trade opportunities are maximised through robust and globally-comparable standards. I thus fully support the vision of NESSE in pushing a sustainable future and believe that an interdisplinary approach which embeds communication and research at its core will ensure this. If I were to be elected to the position of Director of Communications and Marketing, I would look to not only connect scientists and engineers across research, but also within industry and with policymakers and liaise with the All-Party Parliamentary Skills and Employment Group to look and how they are supporting the incorporation of sustainable science and engineering into the higher education curricular. I see that there is potential for NESSE running events with policymakers to ensure that the sustainable agenda remains a priority.

My experiences thus far have given me the chance to learn about effective communication of environmental and energy research. It would be fantastic to join the NESSE Executive Board and help to embed the sustainability agenda.