Driving Environmental Change

Outraged with the polluted beaches she witnessed on the Surf Society trips during her undergraduate degree, Imogen Napper, MSc Biotechnology, 2014, was determined to drive environmental change.

Staying on at the University of Lincoln to study the MSc Biotechnology course offered her the opportunity to pursue this. Imogen’s postgraduate supervisor understood her passion for tackling plastic contamination in the environment, tailoring lectures surrounding the topic as a result.

Imogen explained; “The research module I then undertook really grasped me by providing my first taste of independent research work.

"The adaptability and motivation from the staff during my degrees at Lincoln really drove me to a career in research.”

Imogen has now taken her passion to the next level, focusing on the sources and fate of plastic contamination in the marine environment from everyday activities like using facial exfoliants or laundering clothes.

Imogen has presented her research internationally at conferences and has received significant media attention across major newspapers and TV networks. Understanding how the ‘plastic soup’ of the ocean can be thwarted, Imogen’s research into harmful microbeads has also influenced legislation both domestically and worldwide.

More considerably, her research has shown the public that it is easy to make more informed decisions that can considerably reduce their own environmental imprint. Imogen is currently a Sky Ocean Rescue Scholar and a National Geographic Explorer, with her research effecting behavioural change to prevent more plastic finding its way into the oceans.