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Betheney Wills

PhD Researcher (University of Surrey)

Betheney’s career started in Marine Biology, studying for a BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography from Plymouth University and a Msc in Aquatic Biology and Resource Management from Exeter University. Betheney worked as the Volunteer coordinator and hatchery technician at the National Lobster Hatchery whilst undertaking her MSc research on container culture as a stock enhancement technique for European Lobster. To ensure the project was a success Betheney gained cooperative support from academics, conservation charities, local fishermen, Harbour and local authorities. The project was published in Aquaculture journals. Prior to her PhD studies Betheney was employed by the National Oceanography Centre as a Marine Biology Technician. This role involved supporting and conducting scientific research in the Aquarium and as crew on research vessels.

Betheney is now using her skills within and passion for the marine environment to study for a PhD in Sociology at the University of Surrey (April 2017- June 2020). The PhD tracks the UK government 25-year environment plan pilot projects, the ‘Pioneers’ (specifically the Marine Pioneer) using process evaluation techniques. The PhD is titled “A case study of the Marine Pioneer: investigating local management and natural capital valuation”. The case study incorporates multiple qualitative research methods including one-to-one semi structured interviews, participant observation, system mapping (cognitive mapping) and document analysis to enable an in-depth investigation of the Marine Pioneer. Developed under thematic analysis, themes being explored include governance, natural capital, language use and transitions/change.

In addition to the PhD research Betheney has also completed a Global Graduate Award in Sustainability, the prestigious STEPS Summer School (Pathways to Sustainability) and presented to diverse audiences at academic and industry events including the British Sociology Association conference. Also, undertaking teaching and assessment on the module ‘Communicating Research for Policy, Practice and Impact’ which focused on effective evaluation research for policy.

Between April-June 2019 Betheney undertook a policy internship with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), specifically Marine and Fisheries. The internship was a multi-disciplinary project involving social research and economics with focus on building understanding on Abandoned Lost and Discarded Fishing Gear.


Scientific journal: Daniels, C.L., Wills, B., Ruiz-Perez, M., Miles, E., Wilson, R.W. and Boothroyd, D., 2015. Development of sea based container culture for rearing European lobster (Homarus gammarus) around South West England. Aquaculture, 448, pp.186-195. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004484861530020X

PhD poster presentation: Please click here to view

Conference blog: Please click here to view


University e-mail – b.wills@surrey.ac.uk

Follow on Twitter: @betheney_wills

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The Participatory System Mapper, PRSM

The Participatory System Mapper, PRSM

CECAN has been developing a new app, called PRSM, which runs in a web browser and which helps groups of people collaboratively develop networks or ‘maps’ of policy and other systems online.

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