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Sarah Carden

What does your position involve?

My role involves supporting the development of the new Sustainability Strategy for the University, which will replace the previous Environmental Sustainability Policy and Strategy. Together with other members of the team, I will be developing and implementing a programme of consultations with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders, the outcomes of which will be incorporated into the new Sustainability Strategy.

What is your (education/qualification) background, and how did you get here?

I have a PhD in Medical Science from the University of Cambridge – not exactly a normal entry into the world of sustainability! During the last year of my PhD I was involved in a ThinkLab project where we (a group of interdisciplinary postgraduate students) developed a framework for targeting Net Zero in the NHS, after a period of consultation with experts from all over the world. It was during this time that my interest in this field (sustainability strategy in particular) really blossomed.

What were you doing before joining the Sustainability Team?

After my PhD, I worked for 6 months as a Strategy Intern for the Senior Bursar at Downing College (where I did my PhD). It was a really great post-PhD job and gave me the opportunity to use all the skills that I learnt during my PhD that weren’t directly related to being in a lab for 10 hours a day – the skills that I knew I wanted to take forward into my future career.

What are you looking forward to getting your teeth into in the coming year?

Honestly, helping with the development of the new Sustainability Strategy (exactly what my job is). I am very excited by this!

Who is your inspirational figure (real or fictional)?

Nelson Mandela (token South African here). His quote ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done’ really kept me going during my PhD.

Do you have any hobbies?

I am a very keen cyclist. I cycle a lot on the road at the moment (in the beautiful countryside that surrounds Cambridge), but I am also getting into gravel cycling and bike-packing. 

What do you think is the biggest environmental challenge?

Collaboration, getting everyone to work towards a common goal – sustainability for all!

What gets you out of bed (and into work) in the morning?

The fact that I really believe in the work that our team is doing.

What is your environment-related pet hate? 

The fact that most people do not consider (even one slight bit) the environmental impacts of their everyday actions. 

First impressions of Cambridge? 

I have been here 5 years now, but I would say it would have to be COWS!