Summer Research Proposal

This is my plan for the 6-week research project during the first summer of the Laidlaw scholarship.

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My research will include working with the Scottish Blue Carbon Forum, of which my project supervisor is a member, to understand the state of salt-marsh habitats in the UK and their potential for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The desired outcome of this project is the creation of educational tools about blue carbon which can be utilised in school settings. 

Firstly, through a mix of fieldwork, lab work and communication with researchers and government officials I wish to understand the potential for climate change resilience that blue carbon, specifically salt-marsh habitats, provide; and to what extent this is currently accounted for within policy at a UK and Scottish level. Blue carbon fits into the nature-based solutions approach of Scottish government to address climate change, making this an important area of study. Additionally, my knowledge as a Sustainable Development student makes me well equipped to study the translation of research into policy. Professor Austin, my project supervisor, is a collaborative worker with Scottish government and advises Marine Scotland on matters of blue carbon science and policy. With his support, my work can be integrated with the Scottish Blue Carbon Forum and I will have the opportunity to engage with Scottish Government to help support high-level ambitions for blue carbon at COP26.

 The second objective of my research is youth education. I will translate the knowledge on the importance and state of blue carbon into videos and infographics for youth. With these tools children could learn about the importance of this resource. Through a partnership with a local educator, I will gain advice on the content of these resources. Youth education is important, as a policy regarding natural habitat, such as blue carbon, is more likely to be successful if supported by citizens. This also resonates with COP26, as Article 6 of the Paris Agreement recognises the importance of education as a means of delivering impact. 

 If successful, my research will outline the state of blue carbon research and policy and increase youth engagement with the subject. This provides the potential for the continuation of this project in the second summer of the scholarship, with more focus on leadership, youth participation and the successful utilisation of these tools.

Marcelina Lekawska

Student, University of St Andrews