Alexandra Hicken

 Director of Marketing & Communications

Alexandra Hicken

Name: Alexandra Hicken
Current Career Status: PhD students
Institution: Imperial College London, UK


As a previous member of the Green Chemistry Centre at the University of York and current member of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College, my research themes always have an underlying sustainable tone. My current research involves investigating the use of heterobimetallics of copper(I) for the conversion of CO2 to methanol, with some highly air and moisture sensitive compounds. During my PhD, I have partaken in numerous policy, engagement and interdisciplinary activities to ensure that I don’t get pigeonholed into my own niche area of research – investigating the use of heterobimetallics of copper(I) for the conversion of CO2 to methanol.  Throughout these opportunities I have enjoyed immersing myself in the somewhat baffling world of policy documents and corporate spiel whilst still attempting to contribute with my own knowledge of sustainability.

My personal interests and hobbies outside of the lab/ institute involve keeping up to date with happenings in the sporting world. I also do other pretty standard things to keep myself sane – including travelling whenever and wherever possible, reading, attending music events, playing video games and socialising with friends.

Statement of Interest

  1. Why do you wish to stand for your chosen position?
  2. How do you plan to support the mission and aims of NESSE in your position, if elected?
  3. Your experience in networking organizations, international projects, or any other experience that has prepared you for serving on the Executive Board of NESSE.

The prospect of being part of an international organisation such as NESSE is something that I am very excited about. As I am currently coming to the end of the second year of my three and a half year PhD, I feel as though it is time I take advantage of real opportunities given to me regarding the sustainability community and potential careers for the future. The chance to work with like-minded, and internationally thinking people would also suit my forward thinking and warming personality also. The position of Director of Communications and Marketing is one that caught my eye, due to my previous experience with the organisation and execution of online material, including blogs, social media sites and websites. Reflecting on my time at the University of Liverpool and my work with the admissions team, the University of York with the PG committee and the Grantham Institute at Imperial college has given me the confidence and drive to apply for this role. Over the past five months or so, I have been part of a group from the Grantham Institute that came together to create a website ( and during the building and running of this site I have been able to test my organisational and delegation skills, as well as gain skills using wordpress. I also believe that gathering as many members as possible and increasing participation in events held by NESSE will be a challenging but extremely rewarding task, and one I am excited to be involved in.

I think that the values set out by NESSE reflect those reasons for me becoming involved in a  research environment. The chance to sit at the fore-front of research and have the ability to discover and investigate things that have the potential to contribute change to society is the reason why I began my research journey and still enjoy working in the laboratory every day. I am now at the stage in my career where I wish to branch out even more than I have previously done, and assist in the making and running of a sustainable science community, promoting sustainable science across people with different backgrounds and disciplines. I also believe that addressing sustainability is not a problem of one individual, nation or even political party – it is something that is truly all encompassing, and the global community created by NESSE lends itself to this thought.

Throughout my research career, I have always held extra-curricular roles that have required me to be good working with people, be highly organised and having creative thought. Whether it be through my volunteer work as a teenager in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa, or assisting on the clearing hotlines during my time as a University Student, my ability to understand, converse and analyse situations with different people from all walks of life has always shone through. I am always grateful to be given opportunities to lead, and work with others, in environments that I feel I can make a difference in, and promote causes that I feel passionate about.