Aya El Samad is undertaking social science research to map the level of public understanding and social acceptance of carbon capture and storage technologies in the UK and Australia
What is your background?
After completing a BSc in Environmental Sciences at the University of Balamand, I undertook an MSc in Environmental Partnership Management at the University of Aberdeen, where my interest was sparked in understanding and researching social acceptance of low carbon technologies. Following that, I undertook several positions in the climate tech sector where I focused on outreach, engagement, and collaboration in the field. Predominantly, my work has been with companies who specialised in low carbon technologies, and I found myself gaining compounding interest in Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS) technologies specifically, and understanding how these technologies impact different communities. This collection of experiences has been the main driver for pursuing this PhD.
What is your research about?
My research topic, titled “Understanding Social Values on Low Carbon Sub-Surface Technologies in the UK and Australia” is a research project funded by QUADRAT DTP, a partnership created between the University of Aberdeen and Queen’s University Belfast. The research aims to map the level of public understanding and social acceptance of CCUS technologies in the UK and Australia, specifically North East of Scotland and Western Australia. I will be using Q methodology to understand the social perceptions in both regions and the differences and similarities in these perceptions, and what this means for CCUS uptake and gaining a social licence to operate in both regions.
What has been the best experience to date during your PhD?
Reflecting on my PhD journey so far, the best experience has been the freedom to be creative in my research, and the ability to structure my days to best suit my working style. I find that I am able to research aspects that I find interesting and be creative in my approach to my topic. I also love that the flexibility lets me create a balance between reading new literature, engaging in intense writing sessions, catching up with other researchers, and doing the things that I enjoy. This blend of creativity and flexibility has made my PhD a terrifically enjoyable experience.