Faculty of Education PhD Student, Anna Kliampa worked on a project that was a multiple case study of “schools with educational ecological projects in a Northern context”.

My PhD’s focus on Education Policy and the Environment is a project guided by the policy-science interplay and a CSaP Policy Fellowship was considered a substantial way to get some hands-on experience on how policy and science intersect.

The aim of the policy fellowship was learning more about the relationship between research, evidence and policy making. This was fulfilled through contributing to the programming and delivering of the Policy Fellowship Programme, including meeting with Policy Fellows and organising their Cambridge visits, supporting the CSaP Team with a range of communication and event management duties and writing up summary reports of policy-science seminars and events on a variety of academic fields

The Project
My project was multiple case study of schools with educational ecological projects in a Northern context.

In a nutshell, the aim of the research was to explore radical ecological transitions in education that go beyond mainstream sustainable development and utilitarian worldviews. Building on the critique of linear economic growth, I looked at whether, how, and in what ways climate change and ecological sustainability transformations in education spaces could benefit from a degrowth paradigm in education, exploring and analyzing educational policies in relation to global environmental imperatives.

Due to the pandemic the methodology had to be reconsidered. Instead of face-to-face interactions with each case study, I completed digital ethnographic interviews with educators/project organisers that manage diverse types of ecological learning that can be considered close to a degrowth narrative.

My academic knowledge was utilised by working with various specialists and especially in the field of climate change, mitigation and adaptation reports for Cambridge Zero and transferring academic content to a wider audience. I enjoyed working with people from different backgrounds and I am always happy to work within diverse teams as this gives me room to develop more interpersonal and co-operative skills.

Settling In
I got into the tasks given to me quite easily and I did not had trouble at all working independently and cover deadlines set by my co-ordinator. I also feel my good organizational skills, team work ethic and good people skills were of benefit to the centre.

Benefits and Impact to my research and future career

I was able to get to know the multiple ways that science and policy have an effect on each other. This was a great insight into my own project’s possible impact on education policy and made me think of ways to engage in policy work through building an academic expertise in the field of Education and Sustainability policies.

The added value that the fellowship has given me include equipping me with interpersonal skills, working as part of a diverse team and it has given me the opportunity to engage in some significant policy work in progress in areas of my interest, such as Climate Policy in the greater Cambridgeshire area. Next to that, I have acquired a better understanding of the role of science and evidence in policy making, and the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems in health, climate, food security and much more, whilst improving my academic writing skills.

Transferrable skills that I honed during my fellowship include oral communication and presentation skills through the twice-a-week business meetings, teamwork, initiative, and problem solving. I also trained on the specific platform that the organization uses to do business and writing specific sort reports for the organization’s website.

Another result of completing this fellowship was that I gained some valuable insights into how my academic work could inform policy in the future and ways to make my research impactful.

I enjoyed the placement and it totally worth the time spent away from PhD work as it adds up work experience and getting to know interesting people.  I would undoubtedly recommend undertaking a fellowship and get involved with issues that are of interest to your academic work as it can really expand your horizons.

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