Dr Isabel Jones

Isabel smiling

Faculty of Natural Sciences

Role: Senior Research Fellow

Research interests: My research background is in community ecology, but I now work across disciplines to, broadly, understand how humans and the environment interact from local to global scales. My current research fellowship focuses on understanding trade-offs and decision-making surrounding UN Sustainable Development Goals, using hydropower development as a model system.

What aspects of Research culture are most important to you?

I think because I have worked internationally for much of my research career, an aspect of research culture that is very important to me is avoiding "helicopter science" and instead, working to create equitable international research partnerships: this could be through, for example, creating opportunities and platforms for in-country researchers (especially ECRs!) to meaningfully benefit from the research partnership.

Can you give an example of an action you have taken to improve research culture?

I try my best with quite a lot of actions, but want to acknowledge that I don't always succeed or get it "right"! However, the research team I work with think there are a few things that can be mentioned here:

  1. actively engaging beyond my immediate project, such as building relationships with other researchers working in different areas, as well as engaging with policy-makers (and training others in strategies for doing this);
  2. building in proper financing for any international partnerships, and building in visa sponsorship to research budgets to enable international researchers (especially ECRs) to take up positions;
  3. people first! Wellbeing in my group is paramount and will always come ahead of deliverables and outputs, we also take time to look at career development and opportunities as part of our regular group and 1-2-1 meeting.

What is something that you personally would like to do next to improve research culture?

Develop and support the systems needed to be able to support researchers in building, and actively managing, equitable international research partnerships.