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Who is Cabot Institute? Joanne Norris

 

Jo Norris

In conversation with Joanne Norris, PGR Coordinator at the Cabot Institute.

What is your role at Cabot Institute?

I am the Postgraduate Research Coordinator for our Master’s by Research in Global Environmental Challenges. My role works with both current and prospective master’s students, but also involves communicating with academics and the Professional Services teams across the University’s Faculties.

How long have you been part of Cabot?

I joined Cabot in January 2019, just as the master’s had been approved and was beginning to be put together. It has been a busy but exciting couple of years since then!

What is your background?

I have a degree in English Literature and had never expected to find myself in an environmental research institute but am delighted that life has brought me here! I spent much of my working career in marketing agencies but left that world to find something more fulfilling. I had always believed that an environmental career wouldn’t be open to me because I’m not a scientist, but one of the things I’ve loved most about working at the Cabot Institute is seeing real world examples of interdisciplinarity research and learning how I can use my own skills to contribute to an issue that will affect each and every one of us.

Why did you want to join the team?

I was aware of the Institute from having attended a past Annual Lecture, and initially joined via the TSS (Temporary Staffing Service). When the job advert was sent to me the first thing, I did was watch the videos on our homepage, and had a very emotional response to them (and I still do when we play them to students!). Reading about the Institute’s research and public engagements really inspired and excited me, and I was utterly thrilled when my position became permanent. It’s a truly wonderful team and a real pleasure to be a part of it.

What do you think is the biggest environmental challenge facing us today?

It’s such a difficult question because everything is so interconnected – nothing happens within silos and that’s something that the Institute’s research themes illustrate really well. Food security is something that particularly stands out – the impacts of global warming both as increased droughts and sea level rise both have catastrophic impacts on food security and will impact the areas that are already suffering the most.

I truly believe that one of the most important things that both we as individuals and governments worldwide need to address is that our poorest and most marginalized communities are already seeing the effects despite contributing the least to global emissions, and it will only get worse – so the pressure must be applied to those most resource-rich to make tangible change now.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I absolutely love hearing our students talking about their research projects! They are so diverse, and you can learn so much. It’s a real privilege to see them at the beginning of their careers. The same goes for our academics – through our events and working with supervisors for master’s projects you can meet so many different people and get an insight into their work, which will never get boring.

What are you most looking forward to over the next 10 years of Cabot?

In 10 years, I hope that the master’s programme has grown even bigger and better! I’m very much looking forward to seeing it change and adapt with each new cohort of students. I also hope that following this year’s COP26 we will start to see policy changes being made, creating even more opportunities for our academics to connect with the public.

Find out more about Joanne here.

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