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Entering the Environment Sector, Listen to the Experts: Employer Forum for PhDs and Researchers

Course Description

The aim of this event is to help PhD and other research students with their career planning by providing an opportunity to question, hear from and network with employers from the Environment sector who are PhD holders themselves. The panel of speakers will give tips on how research students can use their qualifications and experiences to enter this field as well as information about their sector.

Please read the briefing document which provides speaker profiles and information about the companies. Researching the companies will also ensure you are fully prepared should you wish to ask speakers questions in the designated Q&A time as well as when you are networking afterwards.


Sally Watson - Principal Hydrogeologist, Atkins

Dr Sally Watson is a Principal Hydrogeologist with 20 years experience in water resources, diffuse and point source pollution, groundwater flooding, wetland and hydroecology projects in consultancy, academia and the water industry. Her first degree was Geology (Bristol) with a subsequent MSc in Hydrogeology (Birmingham) and PhD in Hydrogeology at UCL.
She recently managed the surface water quality compliance reporting for the construction phase of the 2012 Olympics and is running projects for Southern Water and Severn Trent Water to look at improvements to water supply security and optimisation of borehole sources. She is contributing to an assessment of the nitrate concentrations in the groundwater on the Isle of Thanet and investigating the potential for a river augmentation scheme to support Habitat’s Directive sustainability reductions in Hampshire.
Previous work includes groundwater flooding in Ireland and recharge dam modelling in Oman.

Alun Roberts - Senior Associate, BVG Associates

Alun Roberts is a Senior Associate at BVG Associates, which is a specialist market and technical consultancy, working mainly in the offshore wind energy sector. Here he undertakes analyses on the offshore wind supply chain for the Government, utilities and component suppliers. Having completed a PhD in insect behaviour at Queen Mary College, Alun has had a varied career working in science as an editor, writer communications manager and policy adviser, included stints at the British Science Association, the House of Commons and the Research Councils.

Antony Froggatt – Senior Research Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources, Chatham House

Antony studied energy and environmental policy at University of Westminster and Sussex University. He is currently an independent consultant on international energy issues and a senior research fellow at Chatham House. While at Chatham House he has specialised on energy security and in particular working in emerging economies. He has worked as a consultant for 15 years with environmental groups, academics and public bodies, including the European Parliament and Commission, in Europe and Asia. Chatham House is one of the world’s leading institutes for analysis of international issues. It is an independent organisation that brings together people from government, politics, NGOs, business, the academic world and the media. Research is core to all Chatham House activities.

Paul Van Heyningen - Head of Sustainability and Estates, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

Paul studied biochemistry as an undergraduate, and came to UCL to do a PhD in 1996. He chose the 4 year MRC graduate programme in molecular cell biology, and settled in the lab of Professor Bill Richardson.
Towards the end of his PhD, he came to the conclusion that experimental science wasn't for him and a few weeks after his viva, joined the Civil Service fast stream and started work at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Paul now works at the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).
DECC is a relatively small department, created in 2008, with about 1500 staff and a mission to ensure the UK has secure, clean, affordable energy supplies and promote international action to mitigate climate change. We employ PhD students through a variety of routes including the Fast Stream graduate programme and specialist science and engineering roles.

Gareth Rice - Head of Environment UK & Europe, Telefónica UK O2

Originally graduating with a chemical engineering degree, Gareth has spent 20 years working across all areas of corporate sustainability in the consultancy, extractives, electronics and telecoms industry. His route into sustainability stemmed from the completion of an EngD in Environmental Technology from the University of Surrey.
Gareth joined Telefónica UK O2, as Head of Environment UK & Europe, where he has been helping the organisation deliver its Board-level ambition of being recognised as a UK leader on sustainability by 2012. Working closely across all aspects of the organisation, and with its critical partner, Forum for the Future, Gareth’s role has seen him involved in a range of innovations from the launch of Eco-Rating (the world’s first point-of-sale grading system for mobile devices’ whole sustainability performance), and the evolution of Telefónica’s refurbishment initiative, O2 Recycle to the implementation of flexi-working and the development and launch of Telefónica UK’s acclaimed Think Big Blueprint.

Graham Hopkins - Principal Ecologist, The Ecology Consultancy

Graham gained a degree in Environmental Biology from University of Liverpool and initially followed an academic career, via a PhD from UEA and then various short-term contracts including a post-doc at Bristol and a travel fellowship to Australia. In 2002 he moved to the commercial sector as a freelance entomologist before joining The Ecology Consultancy in 2008. He undertakes the full range of consultancy work including environmental assessments and protected species licensing. His project portfolio includes the Olympic Games, major housing and infrastructure schemes. The Ecology Consultancy works with developers to obtain planning permission and legal compliance in terrestrial situations.

Researcher Development Framework Categories

B3) Professional and career development

Course Recommended for

This course is particularly relevant to the following groups:

  • 1st Year Research Students
  • 2nd Year Research Students
  • 3rd Year Research Students
  • 4th Year Research Students

Course Organisers

Further Web Resources


Registration information will be available in due course.

Page last updated: 23rd April 2015