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Dr Rachael Edwards
EPPI- Centre Social Science Research Unit
United Kingdom
Dr Rachael Edwards profile picture
  • Research Fellow
  • IOE - Social Research Institute
  • UCL Institute of Education

I joined the Social Science Research Unit as a Research Fellow in 2022 on an NIHR funded project exploring the impact of embedded researchers in public health settings. I previously completed a PhD in Planning (2021) at the University of Waterloo, Canada, in which I focused on evaluating and improving equity of access to nature for underrepresented communities. Prior to this, I attained an MSc in Conservation and Biodiversity (2016) at the University of Exeter through which I explored the social and ecological outcomes of a sea turtle conservation programme in North Cyprus.

Outside of my academic work, I previously volunteered on the Board of Directors for Waterloo Region Nature, Canada, and worked as a Project Manager for Sustainable Merton, a locally focused environmental charity in London. As part of this work, I contributed to the set up of a Community Fridge to address food poverty and waste and was part of the small team named runners-up for Breakthrough Charity of the Year at the 2021 Merton Best Business Awards.

At UCL, I co-coordinate the Early Career Network for the Social Research Institute.

I am now accepting new doctoral students as a subsidiary supervisor. If our research interests align and you are thinking about undertaking a PhD, email me to arrange an initial discussion.

Research Summary

My research lies at the intersection of sustainability and public health. I am interested in the relationship between outdoor recreation and nature connection and how the accessibility of nature can be improved for underrepresented communities to address health inequalities. I also explore novel interventions to enhance the use of evidence in public health decisions. My research was cited extensively within a recent report for the National Trust on Nature Connectivity and Accessibility.

Over the course of my doctoral studies, I also published research on methods for connecting technology-oriented children to nature, the use of expert knowledge in ecological research, and municipal natural asset management.

Research interests:

  • Health and wellbeing benefits of nature
  • Equitable planning and management of green spaces
  • Nature connection
  • Evidence use in public health

  • Media highlights:

    I was recently featured on the podcast All Bodies Outside to speak about my research on green space accessibility and interviewed by CBC radio to comment on a new equity driven park strategy.

    Teaching Summary

    Since 2017 I have regularly delivered invited guest lectures on topics aligned with my research for graduate and undergraduate courses as well as for external audiences. At UCL, I lead seminars on public health theory and practice and supervise undergraduate research projects.

    During my doctoral studies at the University of Waterloo, Canada, I taught and coordinated tutorials for an undergraduate ecology class of over 200 students. As part of this course, I instructed students in the field on sampling techniques and other ecological data collection methods. I was subsequently promoted to Lead Teaching Assistant for which I coordinated the activities and responsibilities of six graduate teaching assistants including leading training sessions and creating undergraduate learning content and grading rubrics.

    Academic Background
      MSc Master of Science in Conservation and Biodiversity  
      PhD Doctor of Philosophy in Planning  
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