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Emily Hastings Coastal Sciences Co-ordinator

Photograph of Emily Hastings
I decided I wanted to learn more about the marine environment

What the job involves

As the coastal sciences coordinator, I am working to develop a relatively new area of science for the institute. I meet with scientists from around Scotland, looking for areas where we can collaborate with other organisations to provide high-quality, well informed work. I also develop my own research interests, seek new opportunities for work and bid for tenders. Part of the remit of the Institute is to undertake knowledge exchange, putting our work across in a variety of formats which non-scientists find interesting and informative. This sees me attending various events, school visits and open days.

Getting there

After initially training as an outdoor pursuits instructor, I found myself living in the north-west Highlands in a small coastal village. Our house sat just metres from the sea and, over time, I became increasingly interested in what was literally on my doorstep.

I became passionate about the sea through my time spent there and it became a key part of my life – whether sailing, fishing or simply watching its ever-changing nature from the window through seemingly relentless west-coast rain.

It was then I decided I wanted to learn more about the marine environment and make it the focus of my career and so gave up the stunning west coast for a place on the marine resource management degree at the University of Aberdeen.

After graduating, I worked for a local coastal partnership before being appointed to my current role.

Best bits

The opportunities for training and personal development that come with working at the James Hutton Institute, especially being surrounded by so many world-renowned scientists, means that there is always something new to learn. Working in a sector I enjoy, which can affect policy and, ultimately, the way we manage the unique resource that is our coasts and seas, is a great opportunity not to be missed.

Worst bits

With new legislation, this is a fast-moving sector and keeping up with all these changes can be difficult.

Related roles

Other roles catchment management related roles include environmental biogeochemists, hydrologists, hydrochemists, aquatic ecologists, economists, soil hydrologists and catchment modellers.


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.